Bronx elementary school students gifted free books, food

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HIGHBRIDGE, The Bronx — Students at an elementary school in the Bronx went home on Monday with full stomachs and heavier book bags, all thanks to a donation.  

School officials at PS 11 in Highbridge said up to one-third of the student population lives in shelters or temporary housing. With free lunch and new books, awareness is being made about the need for reading material in low-income communities.

Through singing, dancing and reading aloud, students are being celebrated for making it through virtual learning and being back in the classroom, librarian Roseanna Gulisano said. 

“When they came back to school we noticed that they were addicted to their technology, but were not reading,” Gulisano said. 

Administrators turned to a children’s author and a non-profit organization to help the kids get motivated to turn those pages.

David Kanarfogel is the co-founder of Hindi’s Libraries, the organization that donated the books. 

“We kind of take it for granted … spending money on books,” Kanarfogel said. “Sometimes, it’s not always so easy for every kid to have access to that.”

Kanarfogel created the organization in his late wife, Hindi’s, honor. 

Hindi was an English teacher who loved writing, reading and literacy. The non-profit is continuing her legacy of educating children.

Children’s Author Lisa Caprelli brought her Unicorn Jazz book series.

“I was once one of the kids at a school like this,” Caprelli said. “I was once someone that felt she didn’t belong, and today, we love paying it forward.”

Putting on a show for the students were young Broadway stars Jolie Rose Wasserman and Emily Isabel. 

The school provides free lunch on a daily basis, but Gulisano said Monday’s meal was an extra treat and addresses another problem facing students.

“The food insecurity is like nothing ever before, so we want to make sure they get food and books,” Gulisano said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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