UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR) – Back to school will be here before we know it, and the Muslim Community Association of Mohawk Valley is working with ICNA relief to help students in Utica prepare for the upcoming school year. From 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at City Hall Plaza, residents can stop by to pick up school supplies, as well as check out a free health care clinic and pop-up Pfizer vaccine site.
“We seem to have gotten through the worst of the pandemic as a community, and so with kids going back to school if there is any little thing that we can do to help that then we want to be there helping that,” said Tom Facchine, the Imam of the Muslim Community Association of Mohawk Valley.
The organization’s president, Dr. Mohsin Syed, added, “This will be possible because of the volunteers from different medical providers, doctors, as well as nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.”
Joining the medical staff at the event are Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, on hand to help distribute at least 500 backpacks. In the past two years, the initiative ran out of backpacks the first two hours, so they recommend getting there early bringing the kids.
Dr. Syed explained, “There will be candies and some other brochures as well to support them and entertain them.” They want kids to be present at the event “to prevent people taking too many bags.”
“Bring your child and take bags and supplies as well as while you’re there waiting for this to be done have your blood pressure checked if you haven’t gone to a health care provider or get your cholesterol, or get your blood sugar checked. Any of those things can be done right there,” Dr. Syed said.
If you’re looking to help out, you can send monetary donations to ICNA Relief or the Muslim Community Association of Mohawk Valley with a note that your donation is for the backpack drive. You can also head on out to City Hall Plaza to help set up and hand out supplies.
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