Every year, many of the more than 5,000 children experiencing homelessness in Sacramento County go back to school with no school supplies or backpacks. These children already feel different from classmates whose parents can afford everything they need. When families cannot afford these essential items, the child's chances for learning are severely hindered.
Now many of these children have received help with school supplies thanks to a project involving the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) and H.E.L.P. (Homeless Education and Literacy Program), an outreach program of Feed The Children.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2007, twenty pallets of backpacks filled with school supplies and one pallet of books were delivered to the Sacramento County Office of Education for students in the following school districts: Sacramento City Unified, Elk Grove Unified, Rio Linda Union, Center Unified, Robla and Galt Joint Union.
"Thanks to this effort with Feed The Children more than 1,600 local students will get the school supplies they need," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon. "The delivery of these supplies will make a meaningful difference in the lives of many children living in homeless situations in Sacramento County."
"We believe in the power of education to reduce and reverse the cycle of poverty," says Larry Jones, president and co-founder of Feed The Children. "Providing homeless school children with 'survival items' such as school supplies, hygiene items, and food help meet immediate physical needs. It also helps secure our long-term hope for these children: that they will excel at school and eventually break free from a life of poverty."
The delivery of these backpacks will help connect students with the resources they need to ensure their educational success. Each backpack is filled with:
- Grade-appropriate school supplies (books, paper, notebooks, pens, pencils crayons, glue, scissors, and binders)
- Personal hygiene items (e.g., toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, comb, hairbrush, and soap) and,
- Non-perishable food items.
Feed The Children, founded in 1979 by Larry and Frances Jones, is an international, nonprofit relief organization with headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that delivers food, medicine, clothing, and other necessities to individuals, children, and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty, or natural disaster.