About 1,000 local kids are better prepared for the start of the new school year thanks to the efforts of the Bay Area Rescue Mission, Chevron Richmond and multiple community organizations.
Last week, the Rescue Mission held its annual backpack and supplies giveaway event sponsored by Chevron. On Thursday, 24 Chevron Richmond employees went to the nonprofit’s facility at Macdonald Avenue and Second Street to help stuff 1,000 brand new backpacks with a variety of supplies, including notebooks, 2-pocket folders, binder paper, colored markers and pencils, glue sticks, pens, mechanical pencils, block erasers, a pencil pouch and notecards.
That same day, the employees, along with representatives of the Rescue Mission and other local organizations, distributed supplies-filled backpacks to about 600 local students so they have what they need for class, which for most West County students starts next week.
Another 400 are being distributed to kids 11 local organizations such as Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative, Community Violence Solutions, Girls Inc. of West Contra Costa County and Youth Service Bureau.
“Our goal was to make sure the backpacks were received in ample time to get to the children prior to the first day of WCCUSD’s school year next week on Monday,” said Marshelle Wilburn, volunteer services manager for the Rescue Mission. “There were quite a few logistics to be worked out, but it went very smoothly with all the hands on deck.”
The annual backpack giveaway started in 2001 as the Rescue Mission’s King’s Club Youth Intervention and Outreach Program. With returning volunteers again this year, the effort was quite efficient.
“[The volunteers] were amazing, unloading all the supplies, verifying the inventory, setting up the assembly line and packing all the backpacks which came in 8 different colors,” Wilburn said.
About 200 hours of volunteer effort were involved in the effort, Wilburn added.
And the effort is not yet over. On Sept. 12, the Rescue Mission is set to again team with Chevron for their annual Back-to-School Celebration at Nevin Park, which not only features giveaways of school supplies but also fun games, activities, literature and food.