Photo Credit: COJO Flatbush
COJO Flatbush CEO Louis Welz and Social Services Director Shulamis Shapiro with Plaza Auto Mall General Manager Adam Rosatti.

COJO Flatbush was honored to have a key role in Plaza Auto Mall’s annual Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway, in partnership with City Councilmembers Farah Louis – who invited COJO to participate – and Inna Vernikov, Senator Roxanne Persaud, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermeleyn, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, and the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau.

Members of the COJO Flatbush contingent and other volunteers prepare the backpacks.


Lines started forming well before the official start of the event.


FunBash Jumbo chess game, with Cones Kosher Ice Cream Truck in background.

A contingent of COJO staff members arrived at Plaza Auto’s sleek and spacious new facility at Nostrand Avenue and Kings Highway hours before the Giveaway to help stuff each backpack with notebooks and other school supplies. They also brought with them hundreds of kosher snacks and bottled waters to hand out to the anticipated throngs of parents and children, who began lining up a half-hour before the event’s scheduled start.

FunBash Giant checkers game put a smile on these boys’ faces.


A young Chessmaster in the making?

As expected, the backpacks were a big hit, but that was hardly the only treat organizers had in store that afternoon. There were oversize board and card games – Giant Checkers and Jumbo Chess and Giant UNO, among others – from the social-event specialists at FunBash; soft-serve ice cream and other frozen delights dispensed by Cones Kosher Ice Cream Truck; and the NYPD’s immensely popular 25-foot rock-climbing wall, which challenged the strength and agility of boys and girls of all ages.

“It was our pleasure to participate in the Giveaway,” said COJO Flatbush CEO Louis Welz, who explained that taking an active role in such ventures reflects “COJO’s commitment to helping our neighbors through community involvement including events like this, involving for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and agencies.”

The NYPD’s huge rock-climbing wall was a big hit with both boys and girls.


Come get your snacks and bottled water at the COJO Flatbush table!


COJO Flatbush contingent at the end of a fun-filled afternoon.

“Whether it’s large-scale holiday food distributions, free tax preparation, adult education classes, legal immigration assistance, senior enrichment activities, or dozens of other programs and events,” added Social Services Director Shulamis Shapiro, “COJO Flatbush makes every effort to fulfill our mandate: Help Starts Here.”

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Jason Maoz served as Senior Editor of The Jewish Press from 2001-2018. Presently he is Communications Coordinator at COJO Flatbush.