The Zara Charitable Foundation and The George Subraj Family Foundation gave away backpacks fill with school supplies to over 300 kids in kindergarten to fifth grade at Tabernacle of Emmanuel Full Gospel Assemblies in Woodhaven last week.
“For students, the past year has been about remote classes and learning via computer,” said Tony Subraj, vice president of Zara Realty. “Some children will now be heading back to the classroom, anxious about a school environment they have not experienced in 18-months since the pandemic began.
“This backpack giveaway allows us to provide these amazing children some of the tools to help them succeed and return confident and ready to learn,” he added.
According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation’s (NRF), families with children in elementary through high school will spend an average of $848.90 on school items, up 7.5 percent over last year.
The survey found that 43 percent of all back-to-school shoppers will use government stimulus funds to purchase items for the upcoming school year. They plan to spend $21 more on average on electronics this year compared with 2020 and $19 more on clothing.
“We usually have a few fundraisers throughout the year to hold a backpack and school supplies drive, in order to give back to the community, but this year we were not able to do any of those things,” said Pastor Sharon Yhap-van Dijk, who is children’s pastor at the church and superintendent of Young Heirs Ministry. “Instead, the Zara Realty Foundation generously offered to assist by donating not only 300 backpacks, but also to fill the backpacks with much needed school supplies.”
"Zara is a godsend to the community," added Sherry Algredo, a community advocate in Woodhaven.
In recent years, the Zara philanthropies’ focus on education has helped provide children throughout Queens with specialty test prep training, donated computer labs to local high schools, supported robotics and STEM programming.
Earlier in the year, after a horrific six-alarm fire in Richmond Hill, Zara provided new computers for the children whose families lost their homes and belongings.
“Education is so vital to the success of our next generations and our society,” said Subraj. “We are so proud to have teamed up with these wonderful community partners to pitch in and help out some great local families and their children to be as successful as their dreams allow.”