A backpack filled with pens, glue sticks and notebooks may seem like a simple thing, but it can really make a difference for a child in need, say the folks at an Armonk-based nonprofit.
Heavenly Productions Foundation raised about $10,000 this year which it used to buy backpacks, school supplies, new library books and classroom necessities such as hand sanitizer and facial tissues for schoolchildren and teachers in Yonkers.
Its founder and president, Dr. Kathy Reilly Fallon, said the group was contacted by Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano about needy kids at an elementary school in one of the city’s poorer sections, P.S. 13 on McLean Avenue.
The city and schools, headed by Schools Superintendent Edwin M. Quezado, conducts a "Backpack to School" drive each year.
Fallon said Heavenly Productions was able to provide 645 supply filled backpacks to the elementary school.
It also donated 60 backpacks with school supplies to Lifting Up Westchester's after school program at Roosevelt High School and 40 more backpacks and books for children who attend Westhab's after school program at the Good Shepard Presbyterian Church. Both places are also in Yonkers.
Fallon said about 100 books were given to the library at P.S. 13.
Board games were also donated, she said.
Helping to raise about $8,000 for this year’s backpack outreach was Fallon’s son, James, who is a sophomore at Iona Prep in New Rochelle.
It was his summer project to seek funding from corporations such as Bob’s Discount Furniture and then to write thank-you notes to donors, Fallon said.
Also crucial to the success of the backpack outreach were its volunteers, Fallon said.
Among those who were lending a hand were Fallon herself; Sheryl Nolletti, a member of the foundation’s executive board; Byram Hills students Christian Kalian and Matthew Kalian; and volunteers Michelle Kalian, Anne Reilly and Audrey Fallon.
Heavenly Productions has donated 7,200 supply filled backpacks over the past six years, Fallon said.