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Haverstraw Nonprofit Aims To Stuff 2,000 Backpacks With School Supplies

Shown at last year's backpack event in Haverstraw are, from left, Emily Dominguez, chairwoman of the Haverstraw Neighborhood Fund; Rockland County Executive Ed Day; and two unidentified schoolchildren. Photo Credit: Provided
Parents and kids line up last year at the baseball stadium in Pomona to get free backpacks stuffed with school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils and calculators. Photo Credit: Provided
The Rotary Club is only one of several community organizations that help out with the Haverstraw Neighborhood Fund's annual backpack for schoolkids event. Photo Credit: Provided

HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. -- Kids have to lug around an awful lot of school supplies in their backpacks nowadays, but those pencils, notebooks and calculators shouldn’t have to place a heavy burden on their family’s finances, says one local nonprofit group.

The Haverstraw Neighborhood Fund, which has been gathering and distributing those necessities since 2009, hopes to fill 2,000 backpacks this year, says event chairperson Emily Dominguez.

“Things add up quick, between notebooks, pens … even tissues and wipes,” Dominguez said Friday.

Factoring in the cost of the backpack itself, parents may find themselves forking out between $20 to $100 per child, and that’s too much for many struggling families, she said.

The fund is seeking donations of: backpacks, No. 2 pencils, pens, yellow highlighters, single-subject notebooks, facial tissues, glue sticks, index cards, erasers, color markers, correction fluid, scientific calculators, child-safe scissors, loose-leaf paper, and binders.

The group partners with the school district to determine the content of each age-appropriate bag and also buys in bulk, or otherwise tries for good deals, from office supply businesses. And it is helped out by local organizations, such as the Elks and Rotary clubs.

Drop-off locations for donations have been set up around the county, Dominguez said:

  • Rockland County governmental offices: Allison-Parris County Office Building, New City. (845)-638-5122.
  • Rockland County Sheriff’s Office: 55 New Hempstead Road, New City. (845)-638-5400.
  • Haverstraw Town Hall: One Rosman Road, Garnerville, (845)-429-2200.
  • Stony Point Town Hal l: 74 E. Main St., Stony Point, (845)- 786-2716.
  • Emily Dominguez’s office: 6 Broadway, Haverstraw, N.Y. (845)-947-8532.
  • Ivonne S. Santos’ law offices: 11 Ramapo Road, Garnerville.

The supply-filled backpacks are sorted by age category: kindergarten through third grade, middle school and high school, Dominguez said.

They will be distributed on Sunday, Aug. 28, starting at 3 p.m. at Emeline Park, which is located at 16 Front St. in the village of Haverstraw.

(Follow Main Street until it ends at the Hudson River.)

Lunch will be provided and the organization hopes to have activities for kids such as arts and crafts, music and bouncy houses.

The fund is also accepting tax-deductible monetary donations, Dominguez said.

Checks can be made payable to: The Haverstraw Neighborhood Fund c/o The Rockland Community Foundation, 6 Broadway, Haverstraw, N.Y. 10927.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to help stuff or distribute backpacks can call Dominguez at (845)-947-8532.

“We’re calling it our 'Pay It Forward event',” she said. “Those that help out should know that these kids will themselves pay it forward someday.”

For more information, check out Dominguez’s blog by clicking here.

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