2015-09-23 / Features

Constantinides, Local Groups Collect School Supplies

(L. to r.); Lu Argyris of 9 H.U.G.S., Martha Lopez Gilpin of Astoria Park Alliance,
Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian, Ed Horn of St. Michael’s Cemetery, Matthew
Washington of The Durst Organization, Councilman Costa Constantinides,
Andre Stith of Zone 126, Michael Serao of Quontic Bank, David Meehan of
Elmezzi Foundation, Lbna Dada of Quontic Bank, Amanda Porter of Elmezzi
Foundation, and Anju Rupchandani of Zone 126.(L. to r.); Lu Argyris of 9 H.U.G.S., Martha Lopez Gilpin of Astoria Park Alliance, Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian, Ed Horn of St. Michael’s Cemetery, Matthew Washington of The Durst Organization, Councilman Costa Constantinides, Andre Stith of Zone 126, Michael Serao of Quontic Bank, David Meehan of Elmezzi Foundation, Lbna Dada of Quontic Bank, Amanda Porter of Elmezzi Foundation, and Anju Rupchandani of Zone 126.Councilman Costa Constantinides gathered with local groups to distribute the donations from their co-hosted school supply drive. The groups collected over 50 boxes of supplies and received donations totaling $2,500 to purchase supplies.

The Council Member hosted the drive with local groups, including St. Michael’s Cemetery, 9 H.U.G.S., Elmezzi Foundation, Zone 126, Astoria Park Alliance, Quontic Bank, Durst Organization, and others. Supplies will be donated to Zone 126 and The Floating Hospital, groups that provide services to children in need.

School supplies cost parents an average of $100 per year and many students come to school empty-handed. Teachers also spend an average of $500 of their own money on supplies per year.

Constantinides said, “Our children are our future and we must invest what we can to help children in need. All children deserve the right tools for their education. Too many of our city’s students lack the necessary supplies, including backpacks, paper, and notebooks. We are grateful for every donation that was made to help children so that they can become the leaders of our future.”

“St. Michael’s is proud of the efforts by Councilman Constantinides to ensure that our children are prepared to return to school. This is the second year we have joined with the Councilman and will continue to do so for the years ahead. St. Michael’s is dedicated to serving our community, as is the Councilman,” said Ed Horn, Community Relations Director of St. Michael’s Cemetery.

“Quontic Bank is honored to participate once again with Council Member Constantinides to support the children of our community. Investing in our community and our children is what community banking is all about. We strongly feel that providing the necessary tools for our children to have a positive learning environment is investing in the betterment of their future,” said Michael Serao, Vice President of Quontic Bank.

“We are happy to join Councilman Constantinides and thank him for hosting this much-needed drive. As an organization that has worked with hundreds of children from Astoria over the past several years, we know all too well that many kids need our support,” said Jose Rivero, Chairman of the Elmezzi Foundation.

“The 9 H.U.G.S. Organization is honored to support Councilman Constantinides in his great effort to provide children in need with school supplies for the new year. We are thankful for our supporters that made it all possible by following our vision in “Helping Us Give & Share” to achieve our common goal. We stand by the Councilman and his devotion as we share the same ambition for a better tomorrow in our community,” said Lu Argyris, Founder/President of 9 H.U.G.S.

“We are thrilled to once again participate in this Back-to-School drive with City Councilmember Constantinides and Astoria partners,” said Maritza Arroyo CEO of Zone 126. “As we know, Astoria has one of the highest child poverty rates in Queens. Providing these supplies is essential to removing parent concern and stress and allowing the focus on being ready for the school year.”

“We urge community members to continue to donate to this great cause!” said Martha Lopez Gilpin of the Astoria Park Alliance.

Constantinides hosted a successful school supply drive with local organizations in 2014.

Councilman Constantinides represents the New York City Council's 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council's Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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