On The Avenue

Backpack it Up

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
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“Every child deserves a shot at success,” said Jill Bodian, Co-Chair of Supplies for Success during the charity’s 17th annual backpack assembly event at The Ross School Fieldhouse in Bridgehampton. “We want all children to walk into school on day one ready to participate with everything they need to succeed.” On August 29, over 200 volunteers pitched in to prepare 2000 backpacks for low-income K-12 students on Long Island. The organization, founded by Mindy Richenstein in conjunction with the UJA-Federation, presented the backpacks to students from The Bronx to Montauk.


“A growing number of families are being forced to choose between basics like food and school supplies,” explained Richenstein. “We don’t want these children to feel ashamed or embarrassed because they may not be able to start school on a level playing field.”


The charity fundraised throughout the year and gathered at eleven New York metro locations to assemble and distribute 15,000 backpacks. This year’s youngest volunteer was two years old. “Kids love it, parents love it, grandparents love it,” said Bodian, “because it’s fun and it’s 100 percent for someone else.”


Sam, a 7th grade student participating for his fifth summer, likes the human chain aspect of the assembly line process. “I moved a lot of backpacks today,” he said, “I like thinking about the people that I’m helping when I’m working.”


“You’re not just shopping or donating, you’re physically giving of yourself to someone else,’ added Richenstein, “It’s so empowering.”


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