November/December 2020 Issue
October 18, 2020

Backpack donations help lighten the load for students

Source: NYSUT United
school supplies
Caption: NYSUT President Andy Pallotta and Secretary-Treasurer Philippe Abraham distribute school supplies to Albany students. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

With NYSUT’s help, local unions have been reaching out to help students in need — the numbers of which have increased due to COVID-19.

In September, the union provided backpacks loaded with school supplies to 250 young school children in Albany’s neediest areas.

Laura Franz, president of the Albany Public School Teachers Association, helped deliver the backpacks to Pre-K and kindergarten children at Arbor Hill Elementary School and Giffen Elementary School.

Inside each backpack were crayons, notepads, glue sticks, a whiteboard, construction paper, folders, rulers, activity pages and Play-Doh.

With the pandemic, students cannot share classroom supplies and the backpacks will serve as a “locker” on their back for use at both home and school.

“NYSUT cares about teachers.

We know there is a need here,” said Secretary-Treasurer Philippe Abraham, who oversees social justice initiatives for NYSUT. He spoke at the backpack give-away event along with Franz and NYSUT President Andy Pallotta.

“Given all the complications with school reopening, and the amount of individual supplies that are limited for students to have in schools, having these backpacks is wonderful,” said Franz.

“Having 250 students who don’t have to worry was really greatly appreciated by those classroom teachers,” said Franz, noting what a bonus it was that each pack came already loaded.