It costs a lot to live in New York City, and school supplies can put a dent in anyone’s budget. From Manhattan to Harlem, we have a list of organizations to help you find what you need to start the year off right. New York County includes Manhattan, Harlem, and Washington Heights.
Get Free School Supplies in New York County, New York
The organizations listed here have helped in some way with free school supplies, either as yearly or one-time events. Some may offer individual referrals or assistance. Their services, however, depend heavily on donations and volunteer support and may vary from year to year. Please contact them directly for current information.
United Way New York City (NYC) and its partners conduct an annual fund drive for school supplies and distribute them directly to low-income schools. They also provide additional services for families or children in need. For more information, visit 311 online, text 311-692, or call 311.
New York State of Mind (NYSoM), a community organization dedicated to community causes, will sponsor its annual Back to School Bonanza from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Target East Harlem on August 25, 2018. The event includes food, entertainment, and free school supplies. Supplies are limited, and participation in six sports /health activities is required. Free tickets are available at the website.
Catholic Charities of New York holds an annual kick-off for the new school year with food, free haircuts, and school supplies. The organization also offers other kinds of help, including referrals, free clothing, uniforms, and help for refugee children. A parent or guardian must be present for a child to receive services. First come, first served.
Volunteers of America Greater New York provided over 18,000 backpacks filled with grade-specific supplies to homeless students and those who lived in domestic violence shelters in grades P-K through 12. Check their website for more information about Operation Backpack 2018.
Operation Homefront Back to School Brigade provides backpacks filled with school supplies to children of military families. Check the website for details of 60 delivery sites across the country.
Salvation Army Family Services in NYC works with co-sponsors to provide for students’ needs at pickup sites across the city, including Manhattan. Elementary and high school students can get school supplies or clothing, and parents may also receive referrals to other resources. Check with your nearest branch for info about your community.
Provident Loan Society of New York, a nonprofit lending organization, gives away school supplies at its Manhattan offices every year. In the past, supplied have 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.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Back2School program sent three 2018 Toyota Sienna minivans across the country to collect school supplies this summer. In the fall, the vans will be donated to three deserving clubs. Check their website for details on your local backpack event. Also see https://www.bgcharlem.org/
Kids in Need Foundation provides supply boxes directly to classroom teachers in schools with at least a 70% rate of free or reduced lunches. The organization has provided over $900 million supplies to kids in need. Teachers can apply between July 18 and August 19 of 2018.
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. Check with the organization for details.
The Culture of Good will be giving out free backpacks filled with supplies at the Verizon store at 394 3rd Avenue in Manhattan from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Sunday, July 22, 2018. Children must be present. First come, first served. Check the website to confirm participating stores and details
Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) and Manhattan Juvenile Probations officers held a Back to School in 2017 that provided entertainment, job assistance, information for students and parents, and school supplies. To find out what assistance they can offer this year, visit the NeON website or call the office.
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 brand-new clothing and school supplies. For the date of this year’s shopping spree, visit the website or call 212-633-9300.
The Family Resource Center in Brooklyn provides help for families with at-risk children, including food, clothing, financial aid, counseling, and referrals.
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 through five. Each child has a personal shopper and can make his own choices while parents are given information about community resources. Contact a member of the group for more information about the 2018 program.
The Islamic Circle of North America holds a Back to School Giveaway every year at various locations in NYC. Call the organization or visit the website for contact information or details of this year’s event.
The Department of Social Services and Human Resources Administration is a government referral organization. They can direct callers to clothing closets, supply drives, or other resources in their borough. Call them at 311.
Local charities, churches, political groups, museums, and businesses sometimes provide back-to-school assistance. For a list of donors in your city, check newspapers listings or call the organizations for more information. Some schools also provide uniform, supplies, and referrals for students in need.
Get Free School Supplies in Manhattan County, New York
Many organizations are faith or volunteer-based, and they depend heavily on donations. Availability of services may vary, depending on season and resources. Please call to confirm dates, hours, and locations. While all of these can help with clothing, not all have back-to-school programs.
United Way NYC and its sponsors can help with clothing or make referrals. Call 311 for information. See above.
Catholic Charities New York provides free school uniforms and clothing. They also sponsor a program called Dignity U Wear that provides New Yorkers with free designer clothes through multiple agencies. See listing above for more information.
Salvation Army Family Services in NYC provides vouchers for school clothes. See listing above.
The New York Foundling helps with clothing for children ages 4 to 17. See listing above.
The National Council of Jewish Women New York gives needy students in grades K through 5 a complete out of new school clothes. See above.
The NYC Rescue Mission offers food, clothing, and shelter to anyone in need. Branches are located across the city in various boroughs.
The Department of Social Services and Human Resources can refer students to organizations with clothing closets. Call 311 for more information or see listing above.
Bowery Mission in Manhattan will help with clothing, school items, or other needs if a referral is provided. Call (212) 674-3456
East 7th St. Baptist Church in Manhattan has a dedicated shelter house and sponsors clothing giveaways. Call (212) 473-0044.
Holy Ghost Pentecostal Faith Church for all Nations in Manhattan accepts clothing donations for the needy. Call them at (646) 873-0281.
St. John’s Lutheran Church on Fulton Street in Manhattan has a clothing closet that is open on Tuesday and Wednesday. Call (718) 293-0300.
Open Door Church of God in Christ Outreach Ministry in Brooklyn provides food and clothing to the needy. Call 718-455-3545.
St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan has clothing, shoes, and more for children, women, and men. Call (212) 265-3209.
St. Luke’s Lutheran on West 46th Street in Manhattan provides clothing and other items the first Monday of every month. Call (212) 246-3540.
St. John the Divine Crisis Center on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan has clothes for children and women. Referrals are needed for work clothes or uniforms. Call (212) 316-7591.
Middle Collegiate Church on East 7th in Manhattan has a clothing boutique. Hours are Wednesday from 12:00 PM to 3:00. Hours may be seasonal. Call(212) 477-0666.
St. Ann’s Church of Morrisania in the Bronx usually has a clothing bin for people to help themselves with whatever they need. Call (718) 585-5632.
Riverside Church on Claremont Avenue in Harlem has a social services department that may be able to help with clothing and haircuts. Referrals are needed for some services. Call (212) 870-6700.
Soul Saving Station in Central Harlem has referrals, basic supplies, guidance, and clothing for children. Call the center at (212) 663-3532.
Kids in Distressed Situations is a coalition of manufacturers and retailers who join forces to improve the lives of children who are sick, needy, or in crisis. Visit the website for information.