Van Bramer begins school supplies drive at LIC library

Children from the Jacob Riis Settlement House thank City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (c.) for saving after-school programs during an announcement of the councilman's third annual school supply drive. Photo by Yinghao Luo
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City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) called upon residents of Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside last Thursday to donate supplies for needy children in the community before school starts in September.

The councilman’s third annual back-to-school drive will be held at his office and Queens Library locations in his district through Sept. 10, after which the items will be delivered to neighborhood schools.

“Every child needs to have all the support and everything they need to succeed,” Van Bramer said.

Jason Banrey, spokesman for Van Bramer, said the drive has been successful since its implementation, with 10,000 supplies collected during the past two years.

“We’ve been blown away by the support,” Van Bramer said.

He said that many constituents stream into his office during the drive.

Van Bramer announced the 2012 collection at the Queens Library’s Long Island City branch, at 37-44 21st St. Many children from the Jacob Riis Settlement House at PS 166, at 33-09 35th Ave. in Long Island City, were present for the announcement.

“This is a great, great partnership between our office, our libraries and our schools,” Van Bramer said.

Marion Jeffries, president of the Astoria/Long Island City NAACP, said she has donated school supplies to the Jacob Riis Settlement House’s after-school programs and has seen the need there. She said some low-income parents have as many as four children and preparing to send the children back to school with the appropriate supplies can be a burden.

“Van Bramer has been a godsend in the community,” Jeffries said. “He has really put forth for all the programs in the community.”

Jeffries said students need backpacks, colored and loose leaf paper, pencils, rulers, crayons and notebooks.

Supplies can be dropped off at Van Bramer’s office, at 47-01 Queens Blvd., Suite 205 in Sunnyside. They can also be dropped off at Queens Library’s Long Island City, Court Square, Broadway, Sunnyside and Woodside branches.

“You should never be a step behind because your family has less money than somebody else,” Van Bramer said.

During the news conference students from Jacob Riis also presented Van Bramer with thank you notes for restoring funding to 10 after-school programs in the community. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s original executive budget called for cuts to many after-school programs across the city.

“These letters mean a lot to me,” Van Bramer said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 10:32 pm, August 22, 2012
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