Despite the torrential rain, Community Board 18 (CB 18), at 1097 Bergen Avenue, was filled with community members on Sunday, September 10th, for the board’s annual Health and Back to School Resource Fair.
Families crowded around tables offering free book bags, reusable water bottles and color-changing pencils. Representatives from local hospitals and doctors’ offices shared information about their services to people who stopped by their booths.
The event, which was supposed to be outdoors but got moved inside due to the rain, featured around 20 booths from local and governmental organizations, each giving out information on what they offer the community, along with free merch.
“There should always be access to resources and back-to-school supplies for all young people,” CB 18 District Manager Sue Ann Partnow, who organized the event, said in an interview. “We felt as a community board this was something that we need to do because Community Board 18 is here for the community . . . It turned out to be a great success, even with the weather.”
The board’s meeting room was crowded with locals picking up free backpacks, tote bags and more. One resident, CB 18 appointed member Jamaal Carryl, was there both in a professional role and with his wife and children.
“It’s a good opportunity to give back,” he said. “One of the things we definitely want to focus on this session is having a little bit more community outreach, letting the community know that we’re here and being visible. I think sometimes we have these resources, but we don’t do a good enough job of letting the people know, so this is just one opportunity to reach out.”
Several elected officials were present at the event, including Councilwomen Mercedes Narcisse and Farah Louis, State Senator Roxanne Persaud and Assemblywoman Monique Chandler-Waterman.
“You don’t know what people need sometimes,” Chandler-Waterman said in a speech. “I’m going to always support and work together with Community Board 18 and all organizations to make sure we have very needed resources.”