According to recent reports, the average parent spends up to $600 per child during the back-to-school season on clothes, backpacks, sporting equipment and school supplies. However, nonprofit organization Getting Tools to City Schools says that over half of the 1.1 million children enrolled in the city’s public schools can’t afford lunch, much less basic school supplies, leaving New York City teachers to spend anywhere from $500 to $2,000 of their own money each year to buy basic supplies for their students.
Getting Tools to City Schools believes that a lack of school supplies for students can lead to more serious problems in public education. “Without basic school supplies, most kids disconnect from school and fail,” the organization says. “Poor academic performance is the single strongest school-related predictor of public school dropouts. Keeping New York City’s kids in school reduces their rate of high risk behaviors like sexual activity, early pregnancy, delinquency, crime, violence, alcohol and drug abuse and suicide.”
The mission of Getting Tools to City Schools is getting basic school supplies to low-income students in public schools. The supplies are delivered in trucks and distributed to teacher’s classrooms. Each student receives a new three-ring binder, lined paper, pencils, pens, pocket divider folder and a pencil pouch. Students in the National School Lunch Program are eligible.
The organization recently gave 700 students at M.S. 267 in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn a year’s worth of school supplies.
Getting Tools to City Schools is just one organization that gives away free school supplies. Several groups, churches and organizations host school supply giveaways in the city. In order to make the back-to-school season a little lighter, here’s a list of places around the city that are hosting school supply giveaways.
Back to School Blast
- Who: New York City Police Department
- Where: Breukelen Playground, 400 Stanley Ave., Brooklyn
- When: Thursday, Aug. 25 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- What: School supplies will be given away on a first come, first served basis
Back to School Festival 2011
- Who: Latin Women in Action, Inc.
- Where: 103-06 39th Ave., Queens
- When: Sunday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m.
Seventh annual Back 2 School Giveaway Block Party
- Who: Talent Youth and Development Education and Entertainment Inc.
- Where: 145-20 Ferndale Ave., Queens
- When: Saturday, Sept. 3 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Back to School Drive
- Who: A Stairway to Hope Inc.
- Where: Richard R. Green Campus, 3710 Barnes Ave., Bronx
- When: Saturday, Sept. 17 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
- Who: State Sen. Kevin Parker
- Where: Paerdegat Park, Between Farragut Road and Albany Avenue, Brooklyn
- When: Saturday, Aug. 27 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
“Get Your Mind Right” Back to School Event
- Who: State Sen. John Sampson
- Where: Avenue L between East 94th and East 95th streets, Brooklyn
- When: Saturday, Aug. 20 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
- Who: United Palace Cathedral
- Where: 4140 Broadway (at 175th Street)
- When: Saturday, Aug. 27 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
School Supplies Giveaway
- Who: First Central Baptist Church
- Where: 117 Wright St., Staten Island
- When: Sunday, Aug. 28 1 p.m.
Family Unity Day
- Who: Soundview HealthCare Network
- Where: 731 White Plains Road, Bronx
- When: Saturday, Aug. 20 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Back 2 School Giveaway
- Who: Majid Taqwa
- Where: 1266 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn
- When: Sunday, Aug. 21 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Back 2 School Giveaway
- Who: Cross Country Pharmacy
- Where: 1514 Madison Ave., Manhattan
- When: Friday, Sept. 2 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Health Wellness and Back to School Event
- Who: The Arms of Love Outreach Inc. and Merrick Park Baptist Church
- Where: 120-02 Marsden St., Queens
- When: Saturday, Aug. 27 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
First Baptist Church
- Who: Rev. Patrick Young
- Where: 100-10 Astoria Blvd., East Elmhurst
- More Info: (718) 446-0200