Bay Area Rescue Mission distributes 1,000 backpacks to kids in need

A local student receives a backpack and school supplies at the annual event held by Bay Area Rescue Mission in partnership with Chevron Richmond in 2020.

By Kathy Chouteau

The Bay Area Rescue Mission (BARM) staff members and volunteers provided a bright spot on an otherwise hazy day Friday morning when they gathered in the organization’s parking on Macdonald Avenue for the Annual Backpack & School Supply Giveaway.

In an effort co-sponsored by Chevron Richmond, red, blue, grey and black backpacks stocked full with notebooks, pencils, erasers, markers, glue sticks and other supplies were distributed via socially distanced, staggered appointments to West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) children in pre-K to 12 grades.

If the smiles on the kids’ faces were any indication, the backpacks were a resounding hit.

“By the end of today, we hope to give away more than 1,000 backpacks to kids that really need them whether they’re schooling at home, or hopefully, getting back to school soon,” said BARM President & CEO John Anderson at the event.

Among the volunteers Friday morning were Laura and Matthew Nicosia of Valley Bible Church in Hercules, who brought along their three children Judah, Ben and Alethea to help distribute backpacks in the parking lot. Laura noted that they were trying to teach her children the importance of volunteering and giving back to those less fortunate.

According to BARM, this year marked the event’s 25th year and it has grown significantly over time. To learn more about BARM’s efforts providing food, shelter, clothing and other critical care to people facing homelessness, click here.