Legislator Mazi Pilip and The Nassau PBA join forces to
distribute backpacks and school supplies
On Tuesday, Aug. 30, The Nassau County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) brought a truck full of backpacks, school supplies, snacks and soft drinks to the Village Green and Rose Garden in Great Neck.
The Nassau PBA has been organizing back-to-school events for many years now with the support and help of local legislators and town government officials. Legislator Mazi Pilip approached the Nassau PBA to bring the back-to-school event to Great Neck this summer.
“We order the bags in bulk, and we have these events planned through the politicians to pass the bags out to kids in neighborhoods across Nassau County,” said James Shanahan, the Nassau PBA Financial Secretary.
The Great Neck event was one event out of the handful the Nassau PBA hosts across the county. Other events include Island Park, New Castle, Old Westbury and Glen Cove.
“In Old Westbury, over 1000 backpacks were handed out, and we barbequed for the kids and families who came out,” said Shanahan. “In the Town of North Hempstead, overall, we have handed out over 2,000 backpacks with prepackaged supplies.”
At the Village Green in Great Neck, a cooler was set up with cold sodas and water bottles for the kids to take, and bags of chips were passed out.
While the annual back-to-school giveaway was supposed to begin at 11:00 a.m. and end when supplies ran out, kids at the park saw the setup in progress and eagerly approached the Nassau PBA to look through the bags. All of the backpacks brought to Great Neck were gone in 30 minutes.
Bags vary in size and color for the kids to choose for the school year. In each prepackaged back is a basic set of necessary school supplies.
“We have an insert in each bag with pencils, pens, a glue stick, a spiral notebook, a folder and a pencil pouch for knick-knacks,” said Shanahan.
When the children picked out their bag, they immediately took it out of the packaging to try it on and look through the pouch of supplies and goodies. The kids were excited to show their friends and family the backpacks at the event.
“Any age child in school can come for the bags,” said Shanahan. “We have smaller backpacks for the younger kids in pre-school and kindergarten, and we even went to Glen Cove High School to pass out bags to the high school students.”
Children showed up to the Nassau PBA setup with their little siblings in tow to pick out bags and enjoy the provided refreshments.
“This is a great thing for the PBA and the community,” said Shanahan. “In today’s climate, when a lot of people are scared of the police, we like to work to build a connection. We have the best intentions, and we want kids to learn from a young age not to be afraid of the cops because we are here to help, and we all work better together.”
Similar to the National Night Out events that were hosted in early August, the back-to-school giveaways are meant to build a positive relationship between the police and community while helping give those in need the necessary tools to succeed and “brighten some kids’ days,” explained Shanahan.
While Legislator Pilip could not attend the event, her team came through to help the PBA pass out bags and snacks to the kids. Town of North Hempstead
Supervisor Jennifer DeSena came to the event and worked with the PBA to help the kids pick out the right bag for them.
“I’m happy to be here to hand out these bags and see the kids get excited to return to school,” said Supervisor DeSena.
DeSena recognized the efforts of the Nassau PBA and applauded their work to help the community. She stayed for the entirety of the event to pass bags out and talk to the kids about their upcoming school year. The kids expressed excitement to get back into school to see their friends and use their new backpacks.
Parents and grandparents showed their gratitude to the Nassau PBA and town Supervisor with handshakes and wide smiles as their kids ran off with their new backpacks to play on the playground and go through their new school supplies.
The Nassau PBA and town Supervisor wished all the kids good luck in the new school year and closed down the event when every single backpack was taken.