By Naeisha Rose
It was a fun-filled day last week in Jamaica at Zara Realty’s second annual backpack giveaway.
On Aug. 24, one of the borough’s largest landlords gave 1,200 local schoolchildren backpacks filled with supplies in the back lot of one of its buildings at 87-50 167th St.
This year Zara upped its game for the giveaway by including all its tenants throughout Queens and making the event a big family affair as a thank you to all its renters for their loyalty.
“This year we did it a little different,” said Vice President Tony Subraj of Zara Realty. “Usually we just appear to the tenants and this year we figured we wanted to make it bigger impact by having all the tenants come.”
Families from different backgrounds and residencies came out and enjoyed face painting and cotton candy while listening to hip-hop, dancehall and Reggaeton music.
Parents and children had pictures taken with a costumed Spider-Man and lined up to get Jamaican barbecue from Kingston Eatery.
One of the vendors at the event, Lulu’s Fun Party Rentals, had its associates dressed as clowns as they made balloon animals.
Supporting the event was state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows).
“We work closely with the company because of its great community relations,” said Weprin. “Zara Realty does a great job for the community and they always want to give back,” he added.
Weprin also praised the real estate agency for donating a computer lab to Richmond Hill High School last year.
“Events like this are so appreciated,” said Weprin. “I think it is great, this is terrific.”
Ronaldo Setal, 9, a tenant from Zara Realty’s Hollis location also thought the event was terrific.
“I like Spider-Man,” said Ronaldo, who was happy about what he found in his book bag. “I got pencils and crayons.”
Ronaldo’s big sister, Ronessa Setal, 22, found the giveaway very helpful. Her family just moved to Zara’s Hollis building after their lease expired at a private home in Sutphin Boulevard in November.
“This is our first time here,” said Setal. “I feel good. I like the bags, the food, the music and the environment.”
Attending the event with her family was a tenant from a second Jamaica location owned by Zara Realty, Neyda Caceres.
“This is a good experience for me to take [the kids] so they can explore the different ethnic groups, people of different cultures and races,” said Caceres. “It’s good that they see other people get along,” she added as she waited online to taste some food from Kingston Eatery.
Caceres is originally from Guatemala and other attendees were Indo-Caribbean, Afro-Caribbean, Indian, Latin American, and African.
“It’s joyful and they had fun,” said Caceres.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose