Helping hands offer school supplies


Many area families are still feeling the financial burden caused by the pandemic, making Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford’s annual backpack and school supply giveaway even more meaningful this year.

“I’m here as an outreach to help the parents get ready for back-to-school,” Ford said as she stood on a patch of grass outside the Island Park Long Island Rail Road station during the Aug. 31 giveaway. “I understand the need that some parents have in getting school supplies for their children. So, here we are again today handing out supplies.”

She said she saw first-hand the need for help with getting school supplies in the community when she spoke with visitors at the event.

“Covid has interrupted the supply chain and increased the cost of everything,” Ford said. “A mom who came by earlier said she’d normally buy a four-pack of loose-leaf paper, but this year she’s limiting herself to two.”

This year, Ford said that she witnessed many more families come out, including those from several different communities.

“I think this year we gave out many more backpacks than we had in previous years, so there is definitely an increased need on the part of the families,” Ford said. “They came from different areas, not just from Island Park or Long Beach or the surrounding area.

“They must’ve read about it somewhere because we had a lot of people come from beyond my district, and we don’t ask for identification or turn anybody away,” Ford added. “Provided you have children and you need supplies, you’re more than welcome.”

But Ford said she couldn’t do it without the help of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association.

“The PBA purchases all the supplies and backpacks and brings it (to) my district office, and we help distribute it,” the legislator said. “I’m very proud that we’re able to partner with them and help out the community.”

And the families said they couldn’t have been more appreciative.

“It’s great to get these,” said Dave Rodahan, who attended the event with his three daughters, Shannon, Lauren and Catherine, all students at Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School in Island Park. “Today was their first day, so this is exciting.”

Catherine said the new backpack and supplies would help keep her at the top of her class.

“It’s going to give me a lot of stuff to get ready for school,” she said.