The Town of Hempstead Is Giving Out Free Backpacks in Back-to-School Celebration

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This is Hempstead’s 14th annual back to school celebration.

Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan will join the Able Body of Believers Alliance (ABBA) on August 28 and August 31 for two backpack giveaways. The August 31 event is the the 14th annual Back to School Celebration to help local children get ready for school. This is one of the village’s most well-attended events. Elder Reginald Benjamin and his staff, including event organizer Nicole Staton, put together the event to provide more than 1,200 kids (in first through 12th grades) with backpacks filled with school supplies donated by area businesses and organizations just in time for the school year.  

The August 31 event will feature motivational speakers, wellness services, entertainment, local vendors, food, and refreshments. Guests are asked to donate a toy as well.

Elder Reginald Benjamin worked as a chaplain in a Nassau County jail from 1998-2017. He explains that seeing the high number of people, particularly people of color, coming into the facility without a high school diploma–and coming from the Hempstead-Roosevelt-Freeport school system–inspired him to help create an event that would give everyone a chance to succeed in school from the outset.

“I thought we needed to do something more proactive to save these families, to prevent them from going into the criminal justice system, rather than to try to intervene after they were already entangled in the system,” Benjamin says. “We wanted to create an atmosphere where going to school would be inspiring, so we created a [celebration].” 

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ABBA also hosts Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Mother’s Day events in the village. The organization produces color brochures for each celebration which highlight local leaders and historical figures.

“It’s a great way to start the school year, for our young people to be prepared,” Mayor Ryan says.

For more information on the back-to-school celebration, contact Nicole Staton at 516-493-9840. Also, be sure to visit for other back to school events and giveaways.

Back to School Celebration I
Wednesday, August 28, 6pm
Kennedy Park
335 Greenwich St., Hempstead

Back to School Celebration
Saturday, Aug. 31, 12-3pm
Bethlehem of Judea Church
83 Greenwich St., Hempstead

Village of Hempstead
99 James A. Garner Way


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