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September 7, 2023

Thousands of backpacks and school supplies distributed at community events

Peter P. Semczuk, DDS, MPH, senior vice president & executive director, Moses, and Wakefield Campuses, joined by Regginald Jordan, vice president for clinical services, Montefiore Wakefield & Mount Vernon, Melissa Cebollero, associate vice president of community relations alongside volunteers distributing back-to-school kits (Source Montefiore Health System)

Bronx, NY- September 7, 2023.  As families prepare for the first day of school, Montefiore Health System has partnered with community allies and elected officials throughout the Bronx and Westchester to donate thousands of supplies to local community members.

Through more than a dozen events held over the last two months, Montefiore provided more than 1,500 students with school supplies, including 1,350 Back-to-School kits, comprised of age-appropriate books, pens, and rulers. They also provided new backpacks.

The events, part of Montefiore’s “Healthy Back-to-School” series, were held in partnership with local elected officials and community-based organizations, including:

Elected Officials:

  • Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson
  • NYS Senator Luis R. Sepulveda
  • NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera
  • NYS Senator Jamaal Bailey
  • NYS Assemblymember Kenneth Burgos
  • NYS Assemblymember Karines Reyes
  • NYS Assemblymember George Alvarez
  • NYS Assemblymember John Zaccaro, Jr.
  • NYS Assemblymember Latoya Joyner
  • NYS Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia

Government Agencies, Community-Based Organizations, and other partners:

  • New York City Department of Education
  • New York Public Library
  • Chase Bank
  • Healthfirst
  • Castle Hill YMCA
  • Buttafly Lifestyle


“There is a sense of magic and excitement that is palpable amongst parents, students, and educators as the school year draws near,” said Marcos Crespo, senior vice president of community affairs. “We are proud to host our events while collaborating with our elected leaders and community partners to donate school supplies like notebooks, pencils, pens, and more. We look forward to continuing to provide local youth with the supplies they need to succeed in the classroom.”

The "Healthy Back-to-School” series comes at a critical period for many families due to the soaring costs of back-to-school supplies. According to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, the cost of school supplies has gone up 12% compared to last year, with families spending at least $130 per student. That doesn’t include clothes, technology or activity fees. Surveys have shown parents of K-12 students are planning to not spend as much as previous years on back-to-school supplies due to economic challenges.

"Serving our communities means understanding that we address some of the unmet needs of our families that go beyond those we treat within the walls of our institution," said Suzette Oyeku, MD, MPH, FAAP chief, division of academic general pediatrics, Children's Hospital at Montefiore. “As medical professionals, we see our work supporting Bronx families as part of our practice. From birth to the first day of school, and every step beyond."

For more information about Montefiore’s commitment to its community and upcoming events, please visit Montefiore in Community   


Michael D. Cabana, M.D., M.P.H., physician-in-chief, along with Suzette Oyeku, MD, MPH, FAAP, chief, division of academic general pediatrics at Children's Hospital at Montefiore and staff preparing backpacks for distribution.


Members of the Montefiore security team preparing to distribute back packs.



About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems. It is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley. It comprises ten hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at MontefioreBurke Rehabilitation Hospital, and over two hundred outpatient ambulatory care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or view us on Facebook and YouTube.