With back-to-school season already upon us, Reaching-Out Community Services is once again making lives easier for hundreds of families in financial need.
The non-profit food pantry, with the assistance of sponsors, held its annual Big Backpack Giveaway event on Thursday, August 26 outside of Reaching-Out’s facility, 7708 New Utrecht Avenue, where hundreds of kids and their parents or guardians lined up to receive school supplies to alleviate the expenses faced by families getting children ready for school.
“This has always been something that’s near and dear to us,” said Tom Neve, executive director of Reaching-Out. “It’s great to help families. It’s hard to put food on the table so imagine school supplies.”
During the event, Reaching-Out distributed supplies to 500 children, including bags, notebooks, pens, pencils, coloring books, crayons and folders.
Attendees expressed their gratitude. “This is very helpful for us. I have four kids. Their father passed away, so for me it’s a great thing they’re doing this,” said parent Bjeska Prelvukic. “It’s hard. They do a great job. We get a lot of stuff we need.”
“For me, it’s very nice for the kids to get help,” added Constance Prince, a counselor of Liberty Hall Cathedral of Praise, who brought a group of children to the giveaway. “It’s exciting. It helps parents because buying these things does cost a lot of money.”
Kids also enjoyed the day, as mascots from famous children’s movies such as “Monsters Inc.” and “Minions” were on hand.
“It’s so much fun and I’m very happy with the stuff I got,” said student Marta Ordonez. “The best thing I got today was the crayons.”
“It’s really great to give out these supplies and see the smiles on these kids’ faces,” added Brian Hurley who volunteered for CPEX Real Estate, one of the sponsors, along with Project Hope NY, Fillmore Real Estate Brooklyn, and the Rotary Club of Verrazano.
Although the event was another successful, Neve continues to look forward, hoping to expand the number of families that receive help.
“I hope that community members that are doing pretty well would understand that to give back is very important,” he said. “Organizations like Reaching-Out don’t survive because we’re popular. We only make this happen because of the good hearts of people that are in the community so I hope that people will share a little bit so we can do greater things, the needs being so great.”