As kids prepare to return to the classroom, the Forest Hills-based Child Center of NY has launched its annual backpack and school supply drive, providing young people with a fully stocked backpack at no cost to their families.
This year, The Child Center of New York (TCCNY) has set an ambitious goal to provide more than 12,000 backpacks to students across the city. The drive runs through Sept. 7, when the city’s public school system opens for the 2023-2024 school year.
The rising costs of essentials are a challenge for parents and students. Families with children in elementary through high school will spend an average of $890 on school items, approximately $25 more than last year and a new high, according to a recent report from the National Retail Federation.
“Every young person deserves to enter their classroom this fall with the confidence and support they need to succeed — and that means having the basics in their backpack,” said Kathleen Rivera, chief development and communications officer at TCCNY.
TCCNY has provided nearly 22,000 students with backpacks and supplies since the backpack drive launched in 2015. Over the past two years, the Child Center’s Youth Development Division has doubled in size and the need for backpacks and supplies has also doubled to meet the increase of youth served across Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
For $35, individuals can purchase a fully stocked backpack for a student in grades K-12 working with the Child Center in its mental health, youth services or community school programs. For $1,000, an organization can provide backpacks and school supplies for an entire classroom.
“We know that many of the families we serve are struggling to afford the essentials,” Rivera said. “We don’t want them to have to choose between putting food on the table or pencils in their child’s backpack — and with the help of our fellow New Yorkers, we can make sure 12,000 families don’t have to face that choice.”
Founded in 1953, The Child Center is a multiservice organization that reaches over 55,000 children and families each year, ranging from birth through adulthood, at nearly 70 schools and community locations. While The Child Center is primarily based in Queens, it also serves children and families in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Long Island.
Visit the campaign page for more information on how to make a gift.