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As summer vacation approaches for students, it is hard to believe that some of us are already thinking about back-to-school.

Thankfully, for a lot of young people and families in Haverstraw, the Annual Back-to-School Backpack event, now in its 5th year, provides backpacks filled with essentials for students in grades K-12. The event is an effort of the Haverstraw Neighborhood Organization, (formally the Haverstraw Holiday Meal Organization), which Emily Dominguez has chaired for the last 10 years. She took over the position from her mother, Marina Gutierrez who founded the Organization in 1984 with Rev. Joe Dunn. For more than 20 years, the organization has been providing Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and gifts to families throughout Rockland, especially in the Haverstraw area.

A few years ago a need in the community became apparent; children were not being adequately prepared for school due to financial constraints. Believing that investing in our youth is the way to a brighter future; Ms. Dominguez coordinated the event with the help of many organizations, volunteers, residents, businesses, the Village of Haverstraw, the Town of Haverstraw and elected officials. Last year, the Back-to-School Backpack Program distributed over 700 backpacks at a Community BBQ. Despite this great effort, there is still need for more backpacks and supplies.

This year the Haverstraw Neighborhood Organization would like to distribute 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. The average cost of each backpack with supplies is approximately $25.00. The backpacks will be distributed on Sunday, August 30 with a family BBQ. Any backpacks left over will be delivered to other communities in the County where children can use them.

Join the group in investing in the future of Rockland by investing in our youth. Monetary donations to assist with the purchase of backpack supplies are always accepted and may be made as a tax-deductible donation through a field of interest fund the organization has established with the Rockland Community Foundation. Checks can be made payable to: The Haverstraw Neighborhood Fund c/o The Rockland Community Foundation. The foundation’s EIN Number is: #76-0729108. Mail Checks to:

6 Broadway, Haverstraw, NY 10927. Donations can also be dropped off at this location.

If you would like to drop off donations or get a copy of the supply list per grade, call Dominguez at 845.947.8532 ext. 103 or email:

Basic Donations that can be dropped off to fill the backpacks:

· Backpacks

· #2 Pencils

· Blue and Black Pens

· Yellow Highlighters

· Single Subject Notebooks

· Tissue packets

· Glue Sticks

· Pocket Folders

· Pencil Sharpeners

· Composition Notebooks

· Red Pens

· 12 Inch Rulers

· Index Cards

· Crayons 24pk.

· Pink Erasers

· Color Makers

· Color Pencils

· White Out

· Post-It Notes

· Wet Wipes

· Scientific Calculators (High School Students)

· Pocket Dictionary (High School Students)

· Thesaurus (Middle & High School Students)

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