Catholic Charities helps kids get ready for school

Children whose parents can’t afford backpacks and notebooks because of tough economic times will still be able to walk into their classes on the first day of school next month with the supplies they need, thanks to Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens which is co-sponsoring a drive to gather school supplies.

Backpacks, notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies are currently being collected at various locations in anticipation of the Third Annual Back to School event, a giveaway day sponsored by Catholic Charities and the Our Lady of Angels Human Service Center that is set to take place on Thursday, Aug. 22 at the center, 336 73rd St. in Bay Ridge.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) has agreed to have his district office at 7408 Fifth Ave. serve as a drop-off point for donations of backpacks and school supplies. Golden is asking residents to donate backpacks, notebooks, folders, pens and pencils.

“Providing  children  with  the  tools  to  succeed  and  receive  a proper education  is  the responsibility of every New Yorker,” Golden said.

“With your help, we can make sure that every student,  regardless  of  their  economic  standing, has the same chance to succeed, and has the same access to school supplies so that they can strive to  fulfill the American Dream,” he said.

On Aug. 22, the donations dropped off at Golden’s office and other locations will be given out to children at the Back to School event. “This is going to be a wonderful event,” Sephora Rosario, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We’re going to have a DJ, information tables, and arts and crafts. We do it in a block party style,” she said.

The event will take place from noon to 3 p.m. in a school yard next to the building. Rosario is urging residents who plan to pick up school supplies to arrive early. “People usually line up to get the backpacks. We give them out on a first come-first serve basis as long as the supplies last,” she said.

Catholic Charities is also seeking volunteers to assist in the distribution of school supplies and to help set up tables. Anyone interested in volunteering can email [email protected] or call 718-722-6202.

The Our Lady of Angels Service Center, located around the corner from Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church, is affiliated with Catholic Charities. The center, which is open Monday to Friday, operates a food pantry. It is a parish-sponsored program that provides information and referrals to Catholic Charities programs and community resources. Financial assistance is also provided. The center also sponsors a bi-weekly “Caring for the Caregiver” support group.  All of its services are free.

“You don’t have to be a parishioner of the church to receive services,” Rosario said.

For more information on how to donate items to Golden’s office, call 718-238-6044.