More than 100 families benefitted from the event, which was hosted in partnership withTRIMZ Barber Shop, Heeling Soles, Inc. and Glory House Recovery, Inc.
(FREEPORT, N.Y.) - In an effort to address increased need during the COVID-19 pandemic, community partners stepped up to support the 14th annual back-to-school giveaway in Freeport, hosted on Saturday, Sept. 19 by Nassau County Legislator Kevan M. Abrahams (D - Freeport) in partnership with TRIMZ Barber Shop and owner Leon Levar Broughton, Heeling Soles, Inc. and Glory House Recovery, Inc.
On Thursday, Sept. 17, Long Island Laboring Against COVID-19 (LILAC) founder Sabrina Guo presented a check for $1,000 to Heeling Soles and 3,250 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) that were distributed during the drive-thru event, which served more than 100 deserving local families. An additional $1,000 donation was presented to Heeling Soles by Dr. Charles E. Thompson, III of Clarity Surgical and Weight Loss Services, which operates practices in Rockville Centre and Huntington Station.
During the back-to-school giveaway, students received school supplies, bookbags, vouchers for free haircuts from TRIMZ Barber Shop and other designated local establishments, new sneakers from Heeling Soles, and other essentials for successful learning.
“With all the uncertainty that COVID has caused in our society, our children's continued scholastic matriculation and ability to learn should be the last thing in question. It is an honor for Clarity Surgical to help our children prepare for their education and obtain the tools needed for their success,” Dr. Charles E. Thompson III, MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS, said.
“As youth leaders, we believe that it’s our civic duty to build bridges between and unite communities, especially during these unprecedented times. Our donation to the ‘Back to School’ Supplies Event is a demonstration of this belief we hold very dear,” 14-year-old Sabrina Guo, a Syosset High School sophomore and founder of Long Island Laboring Against COVID-19, said. “Since our founding in March, LILAC has been committed to serving underprivileged and at-risk communities who are struggling by helping their physical needs through donations of PPE, meals, water, and much more. We have also been supporting our communities emotionally with our ThankYou & WeCare Arts Initiative, donating hundreds of uplifting pieces of artwork to help keep our spirits alive.”
Financial support from Clarity Surgical, LILAC and other key financial backers, including Bethpage Federal Credit Union, With Pride Air Conditioning & Heating, and Parabit Systems played an instrumental role in making the event possible again this year, as does the continuous support and partnership of the Freeport Garage Door Co., which supports TRIMZ and Legislator Abrahams by allowing them to use their parking lot for the annual back-to-school event.
Broughton, owner of TRIMZ Barber Shop in Freeport, launched the back-to-school event 14 years to meet the needs of young people whose families were struggling to pay for back-to-school supplies, haircuts and sneakers. Over time, the event has become a cherished community tradition and resource; amidst the pandemic, Broughton said community members were visiting his shop, asking if the tradition would continue.
“I have a prosperous business that was doing very well, and I felt the pinch with the way everything was shut down. So, I know that the families that already didn’t have it before really weren’t going to have it now. There is more of a need now than ever before,” Broughton said.
Heeling Soles founder Steve Muir, of Uniondale, has played an instrumental role in the back-to-school event for the last four years by distributing hundreds of pairs of shoes to attendees so that they can step into a new academic year with confidence.
“We’ve always found it important for us to take care of each other. I think now more than ever with the pandemic and everything going on in the country and the world, it’s imperative that we start to pay attention and look out for each other,” Muir said. “Showing love is free - and taking care of everybody should be our number-one priority.”
The event was further enhanced by the support of community partners who provided additional school supplies and contributions of PPE. These generous backers include: the Nassau County
Guardians, the Awalom family and friends, Long Island FQHC Family Health Centers, Glenda White Hills of Millennium Sistahs (hoodies), Mercy Medical Center (PPE and school supplies), Island Harvest and Long Island Cares - The Harry Chapin Food Bank, PSEG-LI, United HealthCare, Advantage Care, Fidelis Care, La La’s Lovables Daycare, Harvest for the World, Northwell Health, Go Green, Inc., Empire BlueCross BlueShield Health Plus, Michael Dottin, AgeWell NY Health Plans, Affinity Health Plan, WellCare, the New York Power Authority and Nike. Municipal partners, including Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé (D -Freeport) and the Incorporated Village of Freeport, provided additional support for the event.
“Even as they navigated the harsh impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic themselves, local business owners have remained a constant and indispensable source of relief for local families during this time of great need,” Legislator Abrahams said. “Their outstanding level of generosity allowed TRIMZ Barber Shop, working in partnership with my office, Heeling Soles and Glory House Recovery, to continue this back-to-school tradition for a 14th year. Now more than ever, we are profoundly grateful to our supporters for once again rising to the occasion and ensuring deserving local students have the best possible start to a new school year.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Supporters of Legislator Abrahams’ 2020 Back-to-School Giveaway, including Dr. Charles E. Thompson III of Clarity Surgical and Weight Loss Services and Sabrina Guo of Long Island Laboring Against COVID (LILAC), are pictured with organizers of the event outside the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building on Sept. 17, 2020.
PHOTO CREDIT: Office of Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams