Aug. 28, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
A group of western Queens lawmakers handed out free backpacks to children at the NYCHA Woodside Houses last week to help them get ready for the first day of class on Sept. 7.
Assembly member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, state Sen. Michael Gianaris and City Council member Julie Won co-hosted the event at the complex on Aug. 24. The lawmakers partnered with the Hispanic Federation, Woodside Houses Tenants Association, Sunnyside Community Services, the Laborers’ Local 1010 Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (LECET, and the Steamfitters Local 638.
Around 400 students received backpacks as well as school supplies at the event.
“The last year has been economically difficult for New Yorkers, including our families in Queens,” said Gonzalez-Rojas. “That is why I am so proud to have been the lead champion in the state Assembly to secure $135 million to expand the free breakfast and lunch program to 81% of New York’s students across the state. Have a great school year back!”
Gianaris said that the event was important to help students prepare for the new school year.
“We must serve the students in our community in multiple ways — whether by securing record school funding and universal free lunch programs in this year’s state budget or providing needed supplies for the school year,” said Gianaris.
Victor Rizzo, the director of Laborers’ Local 1010 LECET, said that part of its mission is to give back to the communities where its members live and work.
“It is crucial that our youth are equipped with all the supplies they need to have a successful school year and we are proud to contribute to these efforts,” Ruzzo said.
Meanwhile, Won said that students living at the Ravenswood Houses and Queensbridge Houses would also be receiving backpacks and supplies.