Needy NY Families to Receive $200 for School Supplies

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Low-income families will get an extra $200 per child for school supplies, thanks to a gift to the state from philanthropist George Soros. WNYC's Beth Fertig has more.

REPORTER: Soros donated $35 million to the state so New York could qualify for extra stimulus funds. The federal government provides four dollars for every dollar set aside by the state, meaning his gift will leverage an additional $140 million.

Speaking at a school in Harlem, Soros said he wanted to help because the state couldn't afford to put up the money itself, and because the need is urgent.

SOROS: I think the financial crisis is the most serious crisis of our - certainly of the post-war period and there's a serious danger of depression.

REPORTER: Families receiving public assistance and food stamps will receive the $200 lump sum payments through their electronic benefits cards. Governor Paterson said the program will provide a genuine stimulus because the money will be spent on back to school supplies at neighborhood stores. For WNYC I'm Beth Fertig.