“So, what’s the deal? What do you have to do to get a backpack?” A curious man stares at the woman handing out backpacks at the Kars 4 Kids backpack giveaway in Staten Island on Thursday.
The woman responds with a chuckle, “Nothing. It’s all about the kids!”
Over 250 participants came to the Children’s Aid Society’s Goodhue Center for backpacks, collared shirts, and uniform pants. Some parents in need walked over with their children from surrounding neighborhoods. In fact, one such mom walked from 45 minutes away, bringing her two teenagers with her to claim their backpacks.
Kars 4 Kids understands the financial burdens on families, especially during back to school time. In previous years, backpack and coat giveaways in areas such as Newark and the Bronx addressed the needs of underserved children.
At the event, a timid Caprice picked out a blue backpack. She smiled shyly when I asked her if she is excited for school to start. Her friends wore freshly chosen teal and peach colored backpacks.
While the kids were singing to the music and picking out their back to school gear, moms and dads were expressing their gratitude.
Jade, whose son is attending PS 59, says that this backpack is one less expense to help her with back to school costs. “Thank you so much! We really appreciate it!”
Tracey Windley agrees that it will help him with back to school costs, but adds that he intends to use the backpack giveaway as a lesson to his sons. Windly works for the Distinguished Gentleman Group, a non-profit organization that does fundraising and provides mentors for Staten Island youth. He understands the need for charity and volunteering, expressing the hope that his sons will be on the giving end some day.
One eager participant, holding up her child’s new backpack, summed it up: “Thank you, thank you, Kars 4 Kids! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”