A wet and cloudy morning couldn’t wash out the 104th Precinct from hosting its fifth annual backpack giveaway for residents and neighbors before the start of the school year on Wednesday, Aug. 30.
Once the rain dissipated around 10:30 a.m., parents and children quickly joined officers in front of the 104th Precinct, located 6402 Catalpa Ave. in Ridgewood, to receive a free backpack.
In partnership with the 104th Precinct Community Council, Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, Fidelis Care and Ridgewood Kiwanis Club, officers also provided neighbors with a memorable community experience.
“We can give them a backpack and that helps their journey to a good education,” said Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman, the commanding officer of the 104th Precinct. “We want to promote that. We want to help them with that. So this is a great opportunity … to bring the community and the police together for a common goal of educating the kids. We see this as part of our duty to help society and help the neighborhoods.”
The NYPD highway patrol stopped by with their motorcycle and squad car for participants to check out. Two officers from the NYPD Mounting Unit brought horses for the children to meet, along with the K9 Jemma and her handler P.O. Maurizio Modica, who also made an appearance.
Commanding Officer Christine Bastedenbeck, assistant chief of patrol for Queens North, also joined the 104th Precinct for its event.
Keeping in mind the latest grouping of children entering the public school system as an outcome of the migrant crisis, there’s another added emphasis to make sure families are given the opportunity to connect with law enforcement and get the help they need.
“We’re going to be serving kids who literally have who have come here with nothing, absolutely positively nothing. And if they don’t get something like a backpack filled with school supplies they really have nothing. Someone has to be able to help them,” said Bob Monahan, president of the GRYC.
The NYPD Auxiliary also helped set up the backpack giveaway, distributing cotton candy to anyone looking for a sweet treat — a popular attraction in front of the precinct that competed with a free face-painting booth with Nicole L Campos.