“I thank God for Safe Streets,” said long-time Brooklyn Homes resident Charlene. “If it wasn’t for Safe Streets, I really don’t know where I would go for help.”

Charlene was one of nearly 300 community members who attended the third annual Safe Streets Brooklyn back-to-school event on Sept. 3. The neighborhood buzzed with excitement as children played in the nearby bounce house and slide, as the Michael Austin band serenaded guests with live jazz.

“It’s always a good time out here,” said 28-year-old Ayanna. “I’ve lived here my entire life, and Safe Streets helps everyone. So many parents can’t afford all the back-to-school supplies, and these guys show us that they care by giving us exactly what we need. There are too many groups and companies that don’t give back to our communities, it’s like they don’t see us or care.”

A binder, a bounce house and a bag of food

Families received a variety of items for school, including new underwear, socks, sneakers, school uniforms, binders, paper, pens and pencils. But it wasn’t just for school-aged kids. Other items included diapers, baby wipes, laundry detergent and other household supplies.

Nine-year-old J’Nyah hurried through her house chores to attend the festivities with her cousin Zionne.

“Thank you Safe Streets, for the bounce house and cotton candy,” J’Nyah said. “Also, I now have my binder for school, plus a notebook and paper for class. They also gave us a bag of food and cleaning supplies for the house.”

As Site Director Corey Winfield explained, the event is not just about giving things away for free. These kinds of events are a staple for Safe Streets, because violence is less likely when people know and understand their neighbors, and feel that they have support from each other and from a trusted community partner.

“It’s a community event with community buy-in,” Winfield said. “We are working to bring the love back to our community. We have to learn how to love each other again and be there for one another.”