Costa Mesa, CA – Children living in poverty start their school year at a large disadvantage. Without crucial school supplies, these students cannot fully participate in classroom activities or complete their homework. SOS’s annual Back To School Program was launched in 1994 with the goal of closing the educational gap for low-income K-12 students.
This year’s program provided approximately 4,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to local students. “All children should have the tools they need to start school on an equal footing with their peers,” said SOS CEO Karen L. McGlinn. “Our program is here not just to give students school supplies; but to show them that the community cares about their futures, and to put them on the path to success this year and beyond.” More than 96,000 of the supplies collected were donated by fairgoers during the OC Fair’s We Care Wednesday Back to School Drive. The backpacks and supplies were stored in warehouse space generously donated by Reyes Holdings in Huntington Beach. Volunteers spent hundreds of hours sorting and stuffing backpacks and supplies to get ready for the distribution day.
This one-day event was held at the BESST Center, graciously provided by the Newport Mesa Unified School District for SOS’s distribution. On Saturday, August 4th, thousands came to pick up their backpacks. It was truly a community collaboration as volunteers, donors, and staff worked to distribute backpacks from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Participants were also able to enjoy a “Resource Row” where community groups, including Save Our Youth, the Orange County Department of Child Support Services, the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living, Public Law Center, the Costa Mesa Family Resource Center, and USC College Prep occupied booths and provided information about their programs and resources.
With the help of our partners, donors, volunteers, and staff, thousands of local children are ready for the school year. Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s program. You’ve helped make a difference for children in the Orange County community.