YONKERS – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano joined Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez, Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Yonkers City Councilmembers, Yonkers Early Childhood Academy Principal Stefanie Felidi and Cross Hill Academy Principal Ryan James and event sponsors to present 500 backpacks, filled with school supplies, to the students at Yonkers Early Childhood Academy and Cross Hill Academy as part of the Mayor’s annual “Backpack to School Drive.”
“I am deeply grateful for the unwavering support of our community and sponsors in making our ‘Backpack to School Drive’ a continued success,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “Together, we have collected an abundance of backpacks and school supplies for our students in Yonkers that helps put them on the pathway to academic success this year. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to our city’s future.”
Donations were provided by Yonkers residents, city employees, and local corporate and nonprofit sponsors including: Nickelodeon, Heavenly Productions Foundation, Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts, Castle Royale, Rock & Rod’s Collector Car Club, Ridge Hill, Elite Investigations, PCNY, Garden of Eden and Staples Connect (Tuckahoe Rd, Yonkers).
Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez added, “Giving a helping hand to those in need is an act of kindness and generosity that powerfully impacts the children and families in our schools. It was evident today by the joy on the children’s faces when they received a backpack and supplies. This commitment by community stakeholders is necessary for Yonkers Public Schools children and their education. Therefore, we acknowledge the generosity of individuals and businesses for donations of goods, services and monetary gifts at every monthly meeting of the Board. Like Mayor Spano, donors from across our community act on their conviction to enhance opportunities for our students to continue achieving their academic and social-emotional growth.”
“Mayor Spano’s annual backpack drive unites the community around helping Yonkers families reduce the cost burden of sending their children back to school, particularly those families with multiple school age children,” noted Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Luis Rodriguez. “By alleviating some of that pressure, this year the Mayor’s backpack drive helps Yonkers Early Childhood Academy and Cross Hill Academy students begin school on Thursday, September 7th prepared for learning and focused on the exciting school year ahead.”
Chairwoman of Heavenly Productions Foundation, Dr. Kathy Reilly Fallon added, “On behalf of Heavenly Productions Foundation, we are thrilled to support Mayor Mike Spano’s Backpack Outreach and donate 250 backpacks with school supplies and classroom supplies. Best wishes to all the students of Yonkers.”
“Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts is proud to continue our tradition of supporting the City of Yonkers through their Annual ‘Backpack to School Drive’,” said Ed Domingo, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts. “We are committed to advancing education in our local community as one of our philanthropic pillars and ensure that students have all the resources, they need for a successful school year ahead.”
Since 2012, Mayor Spano’s annual donation drive has distributed nearly 17,000 backpacks and school supplies to public school students. Due to the continuous outpour of support, each year non-profit organizations, churches and clients of the Westchester County Department of Social Services in the City of Yonkers are also able to receive backpacks and school supplies.
According to the National Retail Federation the average amount spent on back to school supplies is $41.5 billion. Parents spend hundreds of dollars on back to school items, including school supplies, clothing, shoes, and electronics, totaling to more than $890 per child.