By Mike Kinney
The Kiwanis Club of San Pablo and Latino business owners joined forces with the City of San Pablo on Saturday for a free backpack and school supplies giveaway at the San Pablo Library.
The event served children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Young people and their families received 500 backpacks and school supplies to help them prepare for back to school. The Kiwanis supplied the backpacks and Love Apparent Senior Services gave out the school supplies.
The community collaboration involved more than backpacks and school supplies. Free haircuts were provided to children, and Contra Costa Health Services offered COVID-19 vaccines to anyone needing them (including this reporter). Stephen Krank of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul charity passed out information about free medical and dental services the Society offers, along with the locations of 11 food pantries in the Richmond and San Pablo area. Vision To Learn brought its large mobile van to provide free eye exams and prescription glasses to children and young adults between 5 to 18 years of age.
Also, the San Pablo Library gave out hundreds of books to families. Juanita Lopes, who has a fourth grader daughter, lauded the effort, saying “every child should have the joy of reading books and parents who encourage them to read at home, instead of computer or video games.”
San Pablo City Councilmembers Patricia Ponce and Arturo Cruz were busy volunteering to help make the giveaway successful.
“The local Latino businesses along with the City of San Pablo, the San Pablo Police Department, San Pablo Library, Contra Costa County and the Kiwanis Club of San Pablo did this free backpack and school supplies giveaway to help our families during this economic hardship and let them know we are stronger together than we are apart,” Councilmember Cruz said. “This is why the event is called San Pablo United.”
Lucy Alfaro, president of the Kiwanis Club of San Pablo, expressed gratitude for the impactful collaboration among city stakeholders.
“Together we can make a difference in a child’s life,” Alfaro said.
Alfaro noted that many local businesses and community partners made Saturday’s event possible, including La Strada Restaurant, Love Apparent Senior Living Services, Finas Pizza, El Palenque Grill, Kool Cuts by Brenda, Primorosa Hair Salon, Ricardo Ramos of Platinum Home Mortgage, Realty World, Lifelong Medical Care, McRod Team, Republic Services, West Contra Costa Unified School District, the Office of County Supervisor John Gioia.