The 10th Annual Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference School Supply Drive responded to an increase in students needing school supplies, and provided backpacks and supplies to a record 707 students this year! All in all, the youth led committee collected, or shopped for using donated funds, 17,751 items including 725 backpacks, an estimated value of $45,375 worth of supplies.
Like all of Hands4Hope's Committees, this massive undertaking is accomplished through youth participants. This year's committee included 6 subcommittee chairs, 11 participants and 2 staff mentors, all led by a Hands4Hope alumni/college intern. In all, 51 volunteers served more than 450 hours to plan, collect, sort, and distribute school supplies.
The School Supply Drive Committee also hosted, in partnership with the El Dorado County Office of Education, a successful Stuff the Bus event on July 14, at the El Dorado Hills Town Center parking lot near Target. This provides an easy and convenient way for donors in the community to contribute to the effort.
"One of the things this means is that families who are really tight on funds at this time of year can take this burden off of their backs, and can then use those funds for other opportunities or needs for their family. This counts for our children who are experiencing homelessness, of whom there are over 900 at last year's count, and also to families who fall into a poverty income level in their family. We know that 30 percent of students in El Dorado County fall into that 130%-185% of federal poverty line in their families." Margaret Lewis, El Dorado County Office of Education
The seven-hour distribution event was held on Friday, August 4, just prior to the start of school for most students. Hands4Hope Participants spent the day prior setting up the gymnasium at Schnell School with supplies organized by school grade. On the day of the event, they guided each student shopper individually to select their backpack, and then fill it with all the things they need for school. In addition to receiving school supplies, families also had the opportunity to learn from other resources including a bilingual health expert, a mobile dentist, and low-cost auto insurance.
“The school supply drive is a super awesome and fun committee to work and volunteer with. We put in a lot of work, and it ended up being a great experience. I got to make a lot of friends while volunteering, and the work was very rewarding. Being able to see and interact with the children we were helping was lots of fun!" Vikram Singh, School Supply Drive & Distribution Volunteer Manager and Hands4Hope Oak Ridge Empower Club President
We are grateful to the 17 local businesses and organizations who hosted Hands4Hope collection bins so donors had convenient locations to drop off backpacks and supplies. They include: El Dorado Hills Library, Datwyler Orthodontics, Friends of Folsom (FLB Entertainment Center), Folsom Historic District Association, Massage Heights, Lake Natoma Printing, Lyon Real Estate (Coach Ln.), Cameron Park Library, Lyon Real Estate (Missouri Flat Rd.), Placerville County Government Center, BT Consulting, El Dorado Disposal Waste Connections, and the Thompson Family of Dealerships.
The following organizations/businesses also contributed greatly through their in-house collection events: The Heritage Community, El Dorado Hills, led by Hands4Hope Adult Volunteer Gen Walk; Reliance Home Loans; Surf Soccer Club; led by Hands4Hope youth volunteer Evan Groves; Vintage Grace Church; The Hills Church; and The Widow's Support Group, El Dorado Hills.