FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens (PIX11) – From pencils and notebooks to crayons and erasers, back-to-school season can be a financial strain for many poverty-stricken families.
Far Rockaway mom Angela Hines knows this first hand.
“I grew up in the projects. My mother was a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “I ended up being a teenage mom and having five children and I struggled.”
But then Hines turned her life around. She went back to school and became a family court attorney.
Now, she’s able to give back to the community she still calls home, by collecting school supplies for families in need.
“I think it’s really important that children be prepared for school and have tools they need to start off to a good year,” she said.
The generous mom has made paying it forward part of her life. She created Project Window to assist Far Rockaway girls in low-income housing projects. She also heads an annual collection for prom dresses.
The inspiration behind it all is simple.
“I love Far Rockaway. I was raised here. It’s part of who I am in,” Hines said. “It’s also a poor community. The children in the area come from families that are struggling.”
Hines said 95 percent of the students in many of the school qualify for free or reduced lunches. That staggering statistic captured the attention of her friends, family, kids and colleagues who all pitched in for the collection.
It’s a “blessing to be able to help people,” she said.