2012 Back to School Backpack Drive
SOS gave out over 2,500 backpacks to Orange County children as part of the 17th annual Back to School distribution. From August 22 through August 24, families came to the SOS campus in Costa Mesa to pick up backpacks stuffed with school supplies to help them in the upcoming school year.
There was a festive mood in the air from the time the families arrived, as a face painter was on hand to decorate the kids as they waited in line. Once the families got their two backpacks, some found theirs had a special surprise: the Batman backpacks contained a cape that could be unfurled to drape behind the future superheroes.
One of those kids was 5-year-old Mason, who is extremely excited to start kindergarten this fall. Both of his parents were recently laid off, and have had trouble making ends meet. They were worried how they were going to get school supplies for Mason. The family came to SOS for help with food and rent payments and found out about the Back to School distribution. “Mom and Mason picked up a brand new Batman backpack complete with a superhero cape,” said SOS Social Services Program Coordinator Veronica Rodarte. “Mason was ecstatic to say the least. He excitedly rode off on his bike with the cape billowing in the air!”
The Back to School distribution was the culmination of hundreds of hours of volunteer work and the charitable donations of many individuals and organizations. It could not have happened without the generous support of the community. SOS was lucky enough to partner with the Orange County Fair for the We Care Wednesday Back to School Supply Drive. Patrons who brought school supplies for SOS got free admission to the fair, and by the end of the day SOS collected an astounding 88,000 items.
Other community groups and businesses that donated supplies are Agility, CH2M Hill, City National Bank, Hoag Radiation Oncology, Hoag Emergency Department, Hot Topic, International Association of Workforce Professionals, JAMS, Metro PCS, United Health Care, University of Wisconsin Alumni of Orange County, and Wescom Credit Union.
Volunteers sorted supplies and stuffed the backpacks, racking up over 700 hours of work. After the distribution at SOS, additional backpacks and supplies went to local teachers, other non-profits and El Sol Academy in Santa Ana.