QUEENS, NY –  With the beginning of the school year fast approaching, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is encouraging members of the public to once again donate backpacks and other school supplies to homeless children as part of “Project: Back to School,” an annual initiative organized by the Coalition for the Homeless.

“More than 83,000 New York City school kids experienced homelessness at some point in the past year and an average of 23,000 children sleep in the City’s homeless shelters each night,” said Borough President KATZ. “Every child deserves a strong start to the school year with proper supplies just like their fellow peer. We urge Queens residents to donate generously toward this drive, and encourage all residents to take advantage of various complimentary back-to-school giveaways throughout the borough in the coming weeks. All children, no matter where they lay their heads at night, deserve the opportunity to learn.”

Borough President Katz’s office is accepting donations now through August 31 in the “Project: Back to School” drop-off box placed in the lobby of Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. Donations dropped off at Queens Borough Hall are anonymous and are not tax-deductible. All donated items received will be distributed to schoolchildren living in homeless shelters to help them get the upcoming school year off to a good start.

“The 23,000 children currently living in homeless shelters face enormous challenges, including keeping up with their education at school.” 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. “With record numbers of New York City families struggling with homelessness, we are proud to partner with Borough President Melinda Katz and people across Queens on Project: Back to School, which gives homeless children backpacks and school supplies critical to their academic success.”

In addition to backpacks, the Coalition for the Homeless says supplies that are much needed by elementary school children include No. 2 pencils, pencil sharpeners, composition notebooks, colored pencils, crayons, washable markers, glue, erasers, safety scissors and rulers. Also needed are items used by middle and high school children, including 1” and 1 ½” binders, ruled paper, scissors, pocket folders and scientific calculators.

This is the third year in a row that Borough President Katz is hosting a “Project: Back to School” drop-off site.

Borough Hall is the only location in the Borough of Queens where “Project: Back to School” donations are being collected. It is open Monday through Friday during business hours and 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].