Flanders native Ethan Greenidge, who’s a member of the New Orleans Saints, teamed up with Riverhead Community Awareness Program to purchase more than $2,000 worth of school supplies for students at Phillips Avenue Elementary School.
Mr. Greenidge, who graduated from Riverhead in 2015, attended Phillips Avenue as a young student and called it “an amazing experience,” according to a press release from Riverhead CAP.
“Kids shouldn’t have to stress about having school supplies,” Mr. Greenidge said in a statement. “If we can provide simple things like notebooks and pencils, then they can focus on learning. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to give back and do what I can for the community. I am grateful to my parents and Jesus for teaching me this.”
Mr. Greenidge and CAP President Brian Stark previously teamed up during the start of the pandemic when schools closed to provide gift cards for groceries to families in need.
Phillips Avenue principal Deb Rodgers expressed thanks to Mr. Greendige on behalf of the school.
“This generosity provided all students at Phillips Avenue School with a brand-new backpack and all the school supplies they need for this school year,” she said in a statement. “During these challenging times, parents and guardians were relieved of the expense of school supplies for their children and could focus on the needs of their families. No parent should ever have to choose between buying school supplies for their children or purchasing food for their family.”
Mr. Greenidge’s parents, Robin and Xann, were on hand for the donation Monday and posed for photos with students.
Ms. Greenidge said her three kids who attended the school have fond memories of their time there.
“We want to help our town, however we can, to show our appreciation and our love for the kids of our community,” she said.
The initiative began in August, but it took some time for supplies to arrive due to backorders, according to Riverhead CAP executive director Felicia Scocozza.
Mr. Stark added: “CAP, Deb Rodgers, and [assistant principal] Alison Conroy did a great job making sure this happened seamlessly. Now they can distribute the supplies as they see fit.”
Mr. Greenidge signed with the Saints in 2019 after going undrafted following graduation from Villanova University, where he was a four-year starter. He earned a roster spot as a rookie with the Saints and was a backup offensive lineman his first two years. This season was cut short before it began when Mr. Greenidge suffered a season-ending injury.
He was placed on the team’s reserve/injured list and would not be eligible to return this year.
His initial rookie contract was for three years, making him a restricted free agent in 2022.