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Free school supplies for kids in New York City

Written by
Paulina Jayne Isaac
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Preparing for back to school in 2021 means shopping for fun school supplies: pencils, notebooks, backpacks, crayons, and more. But getting the kiddos ready for the new school year can be stressful if family resources are low and there are multiple tots in the house. Thankfully, there are spots around NYC that offer free school supplies so no child is left behind come the first day of class.

Check out these wonderful locations giving out free school supplies around the city so kids can get set for the new year without breaking the bank. Even better? There's plenty of fun surrounding the giveaways, so it's a win-win situation. 

Habana Works Back to School Bash

No need to mourn summer when you have an event like this on the horizon! Celebrate the back-to-school season with half off Habana’s kids’ menu, plus fun crafts and activities hosted by your favorite local vendors. There is also a live DJ during the event so the whole crew can bust a move! Expect free goodies like notebooks, pencils and rulers—kids will leave feeling like they’ve won the lotto. Habana Outpost, Brooklyn (habanaworks.org). All ages.

ICNA Relief Back 2 School Giveaway Program

The Islamic Circle of North America hosts a nationwide giveaway campaign to outfit thousands of kids living in low-income neighborhoods with school bags and necessary supplies. Learn more about the program and its distribution centers here

Freecycle.org

Families looking for free school gear might be able to find it right in their own backyard! Freecycle, a community organization that stretches across the U.S., is a free service for people to post listings for free, unwanted items that might be of use to someone else. Members can also post listings with items they're looking for in their specific borough. Look out for curb alerts!

ACQC Back To School Supplies Giveaway

Going back to school is exciting! Any kids who go to ACQC’s Back to School Supplies Giveaway will be reminded of that. There’s educational games, prizes, and parents can snag necessary supplies for their kids. Sounds like a blast!

River Fund

The River Fund has been helping children and families in need since 2005. The organization helps supply kids with backpacks and other school supplies including backpacks, shoes, pencils, and notebooks. The typical required public school supply list costs parents at least $75 per child, which can be a burden to families, especially those with multiple kids.

Courtney’s Corner Community Outreach Initiative

The Courtney’s Corner Community Outreach Initiative is hosting their first Cutz & Convos back-to-school turn up (their words, not ours). In all seriousness, it does sound fun. Families and parents are invited to a day of fun, joy, laughter, free back-to-school cuts, and free school supplies. You don’t want to miss it!

We couldn’t list every option, so here are some other ways to receive free school supplies. Also, if you’re looking for ways to pay it forward or help others in need, check out the best back to school supply drives and backpack drives and volunteer opportunities for kids in NYC. Don't forget to check out our full guide to kids’ back-to-school season.

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