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Donated Kits Keep Kids Busy

Wed, 04/08/2020 - 22:05
Tatyana Saland, age 7, displayed an art kit provided by Supplies for Success.
Alexandra Saland

Supplies for Success, a national organization founded 18 years ago and now based in Sagaponack, has handed out thousands of art kits filled with coloring books, crayons, construction paper, washable glue, and other items to help keep children learning and busy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For Mindy Richenstein, the organization’s founder, giving away educational art supplies isn’t just about helping kids. It’s also a way for her to process her grief and her struggles after losing her 37-year-old son, Eric, to a skiing accident last month. 

“I felt a burning desire to do something in his memory and to help kids in this crisis,” Ms. Richenstein said. “This was born of that. It’s good medicine — during the day, anyway.”

In the past, Supplies for Success has been focused on filling backpacks with school supplies at the start of each school year. The shift to art supplies reflects these difficult times. 

Locally, the East Hampton School District has received more than 500 kits, which are being given out along with the free meals that are available each weekday at the district office on Long Lane. Hundreds more have been distributed to the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center, the Shinnecock Reservation, and various food pantries here. Supplies for Success has donated another 1,750 kits to children of health care workers, custodians, and aides in the Northwell Health hospital system.

The Richenstein family, which underwrote the first 3,000 kits, is seeking donations to keep the art supplies coming. “As long as we’ve got the funds, which we continue to fund-raise for, we’ll continue to help the kids,” Ms. Richenstein said. “I know, unfortunately, that the need will only grow.” 

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