A total of 662 backpacks were distributed on Friday to 29 schools in the ABC Unified School District, according to district officials. From there, the schools handed out the items to students who are homeless or who are very low income.
For the second year in a row, the school district's Education Foundation raised money to purchase the backpacks and supplies. Last year, 200 were given out, but thanks to increased efforts that number was more than tripled this year.
"Schools were able to order the number of backpacks for very low income and homeless students at their school and all backpacks were delivered this week so that students will start school at ABCUSD next week with brand-new backpacks stocked with school supplies," Foundation Spokeswoman Terri Villa-McDowell said in a press release distributed Friday.
Some of the biggest financial contributors included Hands Across Hawaiian Gardens, First Choice Bank in Cerritos, Century 21 Astro, LBS Financial Credit Union, Ellen Kowaki, Sid Reitsma, Mark Anthony Ruiz and Heather Summers, according to Villa-McDowell.
“Community is all we have," said Hands Across Hawaiian Gardens President Valerie Mason. "It’s who we are and it’s what we stand for. Though small in demographics, we are a family and we should look out for one another. One small gesture can make a world of difference, and with Hands Across Hawaiian Gardens, this gesture and the effort they put behind it, can change the pace and outcome of a child’s school year.”
The ABC Education Foundation was founded in February 2012 to support
district programs in jeopardy due to budget cuts, according to Villa-McDowell.