QUEENS, NY – The start of the school year is fast approaching, so Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is urging members of the public to help get the year off to a good start by donating backpacks and other school supplies to homeless children as part of “Project: Back to School,” an annual drive organized by the Coalition for the Homeless.

“More than 111,500 New York City students were homeless at some point during the last school year,” said Borough President KATZ. “These children deserve the opportunity to learn, no matter where they happen to lay their heads at night.  Fortunately, we in Queens can help ensure that every child has that opportunity by donating new backpacks and school supplies to ‘Project: Back to School.’ Such donations will make a real difference in the lives of so many kids.”

Borough President Katz’s office is accepting donations of new backpacks and other school supplies now through August 30 at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. Donations will be accepted on the first floor of Borough Hall in a box located just inside the front entrance in the main lobby next to the security desk.

In addition to backpacks, the Coalition for the Homeless says supplies that can be donated include #2 pencils, hard and soft pencil cases, pencil sharpeners, crayons (24-count boxes), colored pencils, washable markers, Elmer’s glue, glue sticks, composition notebooks, binders, ruled paper, safety scissors, pocket folders and scientific calculators.

Donations dropped off at Queens Borough Hall are anonymous and are not tax-deductible. All donated items will be distributed to schoolchildren living in homeless shelters to help them have the tools they need to succeed in school.

“No child should have to walk into that first day of school feeling unprepared and embarrassed, simply because his or her family can’t afford basic school supplies,” said DAVE GIFFEN, Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless, the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children. “Project: Back to School gives thousands of homeless students everything they need to start the year off right. When so many children our city are in such dire need, we are truly grateful to Borough President Katz and her office for showing such compassion year after year by supporting Project: Back to School.”

The Coalition for the Homeless provides food and clothing, eviction prevention, crisis services, permanent housing, job training and youth programs to 3,500 homeless New Yorkers each day. The Coalition also advocates for the common sense solutions to end homelessness.

This is the fifth year in a row that Borough President Katz is partnering with the Coalition for the Homeless to host a “Project: Back to School” drop-off site at Queens Borough Hall.

Queens Borough Hall can be easily reached by mass transit by taking the E or F subway lines to the Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike station.

For more information, call (718) 286-2627 or email [email protected].

Follow Borough President Katz via @melindakatz or www.facebook.com/queensbpkatz