Northwell Health volunteers fill backpacks with school supplies for donation to three school districts on Long Island, including Riverhead. Courtesy photo: Northwell Health

Northwell Health volunteers are delivering 483 backpacks filled with school supplies for students in the Riverhead Central School District this week ahead of the start of the school year next month.

About 250 volunteer Northwell employees packed up more than 2,000 backpacks with notebooks, colored pencils and glue sticks on Aug. 10-11 in New Hyde Park. In addition to Riverhead, supplies were also distributed to the Roosevelt Union Free School District, Westbury Union Free School District, and 11 faith- and community-based organizations throughout the Long Island, New York City and Westchester regions, according to a Northwell press release.

The drive was made possible by nearly $50,000 in donations made by employees and a grant from Northwell. The backpack drive was organized in collaboration with the nonprofit Supplies for Success. This is the second straight year of the backpack fundraiser.

Northwell Health volunteers fill backpacks with school supplies for donation to three school districts on Long Island, including Riverhead. Courtesy photo: Northwell Health

“We’ve definitely seen increased need because of the pandemic, and now with inflation, the need is even greater,” said Mindy Richenstein, founder and CEO of Supplies for Success. “Prices of school supplies have gone up substantially. With people struggling to feed their families, school supplies have become an unaffordable luxury. The need throughout New York is off the charts.” 

Northwell Health is a Long Island-based hospital system that operates Peconic Bay Medical Center in in Riverhead, as well as medical practices in Riverhead and throughout the surrounding area.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]