It’s time to go back to school, and we want to help. From Bushwick to Brighton Beach, here’s a list of all the places to get free school supplies in Brooklyn County, New York. If you don’t find what you need here, contact your child’s school or a church in your neighborhood. Even if they are not on our list, they can usually help or refer you to someone who can.
Free School Supplies in Brooklyn County, New York
United Way New York City (NYC) and its partners conduct an annual drive for school supplies. Although they give them to low-income schools, they also provide services to families or children in need. For more information, visit 311 online, text 311-692, or call 311.
The Department of Social Services and Human Resources Administration is a government referral service that connects callers to clothing closets, supply drives, and other resources. Call 311 for details.
Salvation Army Family Services in NYC works with partners to provide for students’ needs at pickup sites across the city, including Brooklyn. In addition to giving supplies to elementary and high school students, they also give parents referrals to other resources. Check with your nearest Brooklyn branch for info. They also have thrift stores with low-cost clothing and household items.
The Family Resource Center in Brooklyn provides help for families with at-risk children, including school supplies, food, clothing, financial aid, counseling, and referrals.
Volunteers of America Greater New York provides backpacks filled with grade-specific supplies to homeless students, as well as those who live in domestic violence shelters, in grades P-K through 12. Check their website for more information.
Provident Loan Society of New York, a nonprofit lending organization, gives away school supplies at its Brooklyn offices every year. In the past, giveaways included pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, pencil cases, calculators, and sometimes more. Parents do not need to be customers of the organization to receive help. Just drop by and sign up.
Feed the Children Homeless Education and Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.) has distributed more than one million backpacks to high-risk and homeless kids. Each pack includes school supplies, books, snacks, and personal care items. Some locations also provide school supplies for classroom teachers.
Politicians and Entertainers with Free School Supplies
Local organizers Khaiel Events, Bassment Entertainment, Bnei Yisrael & D.C.B joins with P.I.W in Back 2 School Extravaganza in Brooklyn to provide free book bags with supplies, entertainment, and food.
Councilmember Jumaane Williams’ office collects notebooks, pencils, markers, paper, glue, hand sanitizer, and crayons for back to school needs. Call 718-629-2900 for more information.
NY Senator Kevin S. Parker sponsors an annual Harvest Fest Back to School Celebration with backpacks, school supplies, and activities for children in attendance. For more information, please call 718-771-3105.
Assemblywoman Diana Richardson’s Family Day Event offers school supplies and food. Call 718-771-3105.
Religious Groups with Free School Supplies
St. Therese of Lisieux Church School Supply Giveaway event provides free school supplies, food, and entertainment. For more information, please call (718) 629-9330.
St George’s Episcopal Church of Brooklyn holds a Back to School Drive Through.
Catholic Charities NYC offers referrals, free clothing, and uniforms, as well as help for refugee children. A parent or guardian must be present, however, and supplies are limited.
The National Council of Jewish Women in New York has a Back 2 School one-day event that provides new clothing and backpacks filled with school supplies to low-income kids in grades K-5. While the children are selecting clothes with their personal shoppers, parents learn about community resources.
The Islamic Circle of North America holds a Back to School Giveaway every year at various locations in NYC. Contact the Brooklyn office for more information.
Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens provides entertainment and free school supplies, as well as other kinds of help, at an annual event, but an adult must be present. First come, first served.
Other Events with Free School Supplies
Reaching-Out Community Services in Brooklyn conducts an annual drive to collect free backpacks and school supplies for children registered with the Food Pantry Program.
NYPD 83rd Precinct in Brooklyn gives away book bags and IDs for kids. Visit their Facebook page for updates and the latest neighborhood events.
Habana Outpost distributes school supplies at its annual Back to School Bash.
Brooklyn Center for Quality Life (BCQL), along with the historic Mt. Zion Church of God, distributes school supplies and free backpacks at the East 37th Street Kids Fair and Family Day. Call the church at (718) 284-1097 or 718-284-1097 for info.
New York State of Mind (NYSoM), an organization dedicated to community causes, sponsors an annual Back to School Sports and Health Day. The event includes food, entertainment, and free school supplies. Supplies, however, may be limited.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Back2School program sent three 2018 Toyota Sienna minivans across the country to collect school supplies this summer. Afterward, they will donate the vans to three deserving clubs and give out the supplies. Visit the website for more information.
The Culture of Good gives out free backpacks filled with supplies at participating Verizon stores. Children must be present, however, and supplies are limited.
Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) and the Manhattan Juvenile Probations officers hold a Back to School party with entertainment, job assistance, information, and school supplies.
Free School Supplies and Discounts for Teachers and Military Families
Operation Homefront Back to School Brigade provides backpacks filled with school supplies to children of military families. Check the website for a list of 60 delivery sites across the country.
World Vision Greater New York serves New York City but focuses on the Bronx and Washington Heights. World Vision serves as a resource center for teachers, as well as helping them with basic supplies and giving backpacks to low-income schools.
Kids In Need Foundation provides supply boxes directly to classroom teachers in schools with at least a 70% rate of free or reduced lunches. Teachers, however, must apply during specific dates.
Feed the Children Homeless Education and Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.) provides school supplies for classroom teachers in some locations.
Target Stores give teachers a 15 percent discount on all school supplies.
Free School Clothes in Brooklyn County, New York
The organizations below either give out new or gently used back to school clothing or refer you to other groups that can help. You can also find reasonably priced clothes at many thrift stores in Brooklyn County. Because most charities depend on volunteers and donations to keep their doors open, their hours and selection may vary. For these reasons, it is always best to call beforehand for details and eligibility requirements.
Non-profits with Free Clothing
The Family Resource Center in Brooklyn provides helps families with clothes for at-risk children. See above.
Help USA, 515 Blake Ave Brooklyn, NY 11207, helps low-income families, as well as the homeless, with job training, books, backpacks, and free school supplies.
Kids in Distressed Situations is a group of manufacturers and retailers who work together to improve the lives of children who are sick, needy, or in crisis.
The NYC Rescue Mission offers food, clothing, and shelter to anyone in need, and branches are located across the city in various boroughs.
Events with Free School Clothing
The National Council of Jewish Women provides new clothing for students in grades K – 5. See listing above for details about their one-day event.
The New York Foundling turns its lobby into a marketplace for students ages 4 to 17 during its annual Back to School Shopping Day, where it provides new clothing and school supplies. For more info, visit the website or call 212-633-9300.
The Department of Social Services and Human Resources Administration refers callers to clothing closets, supply drives, and other resources in their borough. Call 311.
Brooklyn Free Store is a weekly event that takes place every Friday from 12:00–5:00 at Lafayette and Marcy (one block from Bedford-Nostrand G Train Stop) in Bed Stuy. Bring what you don’t need to donate (or come with nothing) and take what you need.
Religious Groups with Free Clothes
Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens offers referrals, free clothing, and uniforms. See above.
Salvation Army Family Services in NYC works with partners to clothe elementary and high school students. See above.
St. John the Baptist at 75 Lewis Avenue in Bed-Stuy shares clothing, as available. Hours are usually Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9:00-12:00.
Open Door Church of God in Christ Outreach Ministry in Brooklyn provides food and clothing to the needy. Call 718-455-3545.