Adams hosts backpack distribution

Drummers from Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy perform on Borough Hall Plaza.
Glenda Silva/Brooklyn BP’s Office

The Office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Wednesday hosted a back-to-school backpack distribution for local students at Brooklyn Borough Hall as part of its weekly “Summer Wednesdays” series.

Adams, the Democratic nominee for Mayor, said the distribution, which was held in partnership with Spectrum and Kings Plaza, was made possible by “generous donations” from the Diana Bagrationi Foundation and Target, which also donated school supplies to fill the bags.

New York City public schools will welcome students back for full-time, in-person schooling starting on Monday.

Adams hailed the distribution as a positive step toward ensuring students have the resources they need after an unprecedented year.

“This year’s back-to-school distributions signal a welcome return for New York City students, who have been forced to endure so much during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “These events will help set students up for success in the coming school year, as they return to in-person classes.

“We are proud to partner with Spectrum, Kings Plaza, the Diana Bagrationi Foundation and Target on this year’s backpack distribution, and look forward to continuing to support our students amid such an unprecedented school-year,” he added.

The event also featured a mobile vaccination van, offering free shots of the Pfizer vaccine to New Yorkers aged 12 and up, hosted in partnership with the NYC Test & Trace Corps.

“With the first days of school fast approaching, now is the time for students, teachers and school staff to get vaccinated, and to ensure they’re protecting themselves and their school community from COVID-19,” said Dr. Ted Long, executive director of the NYC Test & Trace Corps and Senior Vice President for Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals.

“As a father of two, I strongly encourage parents of any child aged 12 or older to come to downtown Brooklyn today to have their children receive a convenient, no-cost vaccination at our mobile clinic, and head home with a backpack and the assurance that they will have a safe and successful school year,” he added.

“One of our core missions is to be prepared for emergencies, and we are proud to participate in a program that will help children going back to school be prepared for the school year,” said New York City Emergency Management Commissioner John Scrivani. “We thank the partners and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for investing in the next generation and their education.”

Young artist-activists from Ifetayo performed dance, poetry and spoken word during the event.

Ifetayo Youth Ensemble (IYE), Ifetayo’s signature ensemble, is a nationally-recognized group of 17-20 young leaders who leverage their multi-disciplinary training to mount socially-relevant, interdisciplinary works each year that raise awareness of issues facing their community,” said Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy’s Executive Director Naima Oyo. “We are so excited to join the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office to help welcome NYC students back to school.”

Adams said his office and its partners have already distributed 1,172 bags to homeless shelters in Brownsville and East New York, and to non-profits and houses of worship hosting their own events.

At Wednesday’s event, more than 400 bags were distributed to local students, who also received school supplies, including crayons, pens, spiral notebooks, glue sticks, folders, pencil sharpeners and colored pencils.

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