Thousands of Brooklyn students picked up free, brand-new, fully stocked backpacks in preparation for the first day of school on Wednesday, courtesy of the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone and Empire BlueCross BlueShield.
The healthcare giants hosted the giveaway at the Martin Luther Playground across the street from NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn in Sunset Park. After successfully handing out school supplies to more than 2,000 students from underserved Brooklyn nabes last year, the duo committed to making this year’s event bigger and better than ever.
“Empire is more than just a health insurer; we’re a part of the community,” said Dr. Mark Levy Empire’s president. “We understand our health connects us to each other and what we all do impacts those around us. That’s why we’re dedicated to not only providing better care for our members but also contributing to the overall health and wellness of our communities.”
According to Kids in Need, students with adequate school supplies have higher self-esteem and interest in learning — so being prepared for school is a crucial part of academic success. With the price of items like writing utensils, notebooks, and backpack themselves rising, it’s not always easy for students and their parents to get the supplies they need.
The Aug. 30 giveaway also served as a free health clinic, offering blood pressure testing, dental screenings, and nutrition information — as well as assistance renewing or re-enrolling in health insurance plans.
The Family Health Centers at NYU Langone is a community-based program that offers care to kids and adults alike, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. In June, NYU Langone opened its first new Family Health Center in ten years in Red Hook — a nabe with few affordable healthcare resources.
“By equipping children with the necessary school supplies and promoting health education, we’re empowering students and their families to thrive in the upcoming school year and beyond,” said Larry K. McReynolds, Executive Director, Family Health Centers at NYU Langone. “Education and health go hand in hand, and we’re grateful for our partners who are committed to making a positive impact in the neighborhoods we serve.”