The backpack and school supply drive was organized by Breeden, a volunteer at Tracy Interfaith, to help the school-age children the food bank sees every year. With the start of the school year approaching Aug. 15, Breeden was determined to get as many backpacks as she could.
The Salvation Army stepped up with a 300 backpack donation, leading her to organize a drive for 500 more backpacks — and the school supplies to fill them— to ensure the roughly 800 school age children the center helps receive a backpack.
The work for the drive has been going on for about a month, as Breeden put the word out to the business community seeking donations. She left messages in church newsletters and bulletins, and event listing on radio stations.
“I did everything I could to get the word out on this,” she said.
Apparently, it worked, as cars began to drop off their donations Tuesday.
“People have been very generous all the way around. People were coming here before we started at 10 this morning,” Breeden said. “The backpacks are very nice — we have all kinds and sizes, some filled to the brim with supplies”.
The backpacks were for children ranging from elementary to high school, some emblazoned with comic book superheroes or a Disney princess theme. Bags of supplies also mounted, including paper and crayons, or glue and wooden rulers and safety scissors.
Breeden said every little bit is a bonus.
“This helps the teachers giving the students a jump on getting some of their supplies,” Bredden said.
In addition to the Salvation Army donation, Costco delivered 100 backpacks filled with supplies. Uncle Credit Union made a 96 backpack donation to the drive, along with a monetary donation for the Children’s Home Society. Any money received, Breeden said would be used to buy supplies or more backpacks if the volunteers came up short of their 500 pack goal.
By 11 a.m. they had already 60 backpacks from the public, along with several bags of supplies. Breeden said at the end of the drive, they had 117 backpacks donated by community members, along with “tons and tons” of school stuff
The backpacks will be given away starting Aug. 2 to children of clients of Tracy Interfaith Ministries. And, Breeden added, it’s not too late to donate: some community groups are still bringing in contributions, and others who want to make a gift of a pack or school supplies toward the backpack drive can drop them off at 311 W. Grant Line Road.