EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Nearly 150 Eastchester students will be sporting new backpacks and school supplies next week when schools open, courtesy of a group of good Samaritans that gathered and distributed the packages to families in need.
As part of the Eastchester Community Action Partnership (ECAP)’s backpack drive, volunteers gave away 144 backpacks, loaded to the brim with everything a student would need as they get ready to go back to school.
The Eastchester Rotary Club gathered all of the “back to school” items, that included pencils, pens, rulers, calculators and notebooks, and on Thursday, members of ECAP distributed them from their headquarters on Main Street in Tuckahoe.
Although Eastchester is known as an affluent area, Site Director Don Brown noted that there are still families in the community that can use the aid his organization provides.
“It’s an affluent area, sure, but there are still pockets that need assistance. There’s families in need wherever you look,” he said. “We have kids in our summer enrichment program, and many hopefuls that we couldn’t accommodate, so we know they’re probably coming to get bags. They’ll all be gone.”
The backpack drive was spawned through the success of ECAP’s annual Thanksgiving baskets, when the group hands out all the supplies to fix a holiday dinner to hundreds of local residents.
The drive is just the beginning of several programs ECAP has planned for the community. They plan to continue to hold food drives on the second Wednesday of each month, and will host their Christmas “Adopt-A-Family,” when presents are purchased and delivered to families in need. In January, they will host the 30th annual Martin Luther King breakfast, which Brown said should be a blowout affair.
Brown – who has been at the helm for less than a year - said that he hopes the success of the Thanksgiving and now backpack drives will bring more attention to the good work the organization does in Eastchester.
“ECAP has been around 40 years, and it feels like no one knows we’re here. The first thing I noticed when I got here was that there was no sign (outside the office at 144 Main St.),” he said. “ECAP does a lot of good for the community, but it’s unfortunate that it’s only about a four or five block radius that knows about us.”