As a new school year starts, parents are flocking to stores to buy their kids school supplies However, as the economy shows few signs of improvement, many parents are feeling the financial burden of expensive school equipment.
In an effort to alleviate this burden, Costco in Rego Park and the Queens Chronicle partnered up on Wednesday to give out 300 backpacks to first-, second- and third-grade students at PS 220 Edward Mandel School’s gym. The backpacks contained writing instruments, folders and fruit snacks.
Part of Costco’s Fresh Start Backpack Program, the retailer distributes backpacks to local schools in their communities. Started in 1993, the retailer has donated nearly 2.9 million bags to children around the world.
To show their appreciation, the students made a large, colorful poster with the words “WAY TO GO COSTCO.”
“When I saw the sign they made, I teared up,” said Kathleen Killory, marketing manager for Costco who, along with Tabithia Williams, helped organize the donation. “The kids were all well-behaved and attentive.”
Some parents came by to thank the employees of Costco and take pictures of their children with their new bookbags. One parent wasn’t able to provide her 1st grade son with a new backpack.
“Money is tight,” said Cheri Fraser of Briarwood. “Now with the [Department]of Education not supplying equipment, we’re having to buy more things for class.”
It was Costco who reached out to the school to donate the bookbags.
“They contacted me three weeks ago and wanted to give the knapsacks to the children,” said Teresa Hooks, the parent coordinator at the school. “Bookbags are the most expensive. For the first couple of weeks, some may not have one.”
PS 220 Principal Josette Pizarro praised Costco’s effort to help students in need.
“I look forward to our partnership with Costco and we would support reaching out to the community.”