Community-led backpack giveaway helps SF youth prepare for school

With the start of the new school year just weeks away, local artists, merchants, barbers and community organizers spent much of the day Saturday providing children from struggling families with backpacks, school supplies and haircuts, free of charge.

The annual backpack giveaway event, now in its fourth year, was hosted by a coalition of community members and organizations known as All In San Francisco at the Potrero Del Sol/La Raza Park, located at the intersection of San Francisco’s Mission and Potrero Hill neighborhoods.

“School is around the corner and I know it can get expensive, especially with the high rent in San Francisco,” said Raul Lopez, founder of All In San Francisco. “The hope is to at least take a little bit of the burden off some families, by providing for school so they don’t have to go out and shop. They can come here and get everything they need.”

The event’s organizers hoped to hand out more than 500 backpacks filled with notebooks, folders and pencils by registering families from the surrounding neighborhoods.

Djs provided music, and volunteers from local businesses and eating establishments served up hot dogs, hamburgers and tacos at the community barbecue that drew dozens of people.

Members of the San Francisco Black Firefighters Association opened the doors to a parked fire truck to attendees, in the hopes of inspiring minority youth to seek out careers with the San Francisco Fire Department.

“We want to make sure that these kids have opportunities and different avenues, other than whats the norm, especially for minorities,” said the the association’s executive-at-large, Antione Davis. “As a person of color, I want to show up and show out at these events, so the children can see me and know that they can do exactly what I’m doing, or better.”

Sponsors of the event included a mix of local and regional merchants and culture and advocacy organizations, including PODER SF, the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, and the Mission Housing Development Corporation.

“San Francisco is not exempt from having homeless students in our schools, and spaces like this are vital not just for the services you get, but for the community building,” sad Chirag Bhakta, Mission Housing’s community engagement coordinator.“Oftentimes when city government falls, short it’s the community that has to lift everybody up, and this is definitely a space where that’s happening.”

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

Laura Waxmann
Share
Published by
Laura Waxmann

Recent Posts

Vital healthcare funds extended for Marriott workers on picket line, boosting strike

Striking Marriott workers just got renewed wind behind their efforts: Their healthcare was extended until the end of January. Previously,…

23 mins ago

SF City Attorney questions legality of Trump’s pick to replace Sessions

City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who is representing San Francisco in four lawsuits against the federal justice department, criticized President Donald…

1 hour ago

SF mayor lends support to striking Marriott workers at rally

On day 40 of the Marriott hotel workers strike, San Francisco Mayor London Breed lent her support to UNITE HERE…

1 hour ago

Bank robber linked to cold case homicides booked into SF jail on suspicion of murder

A convicted bank robber who San Francisco police identified earlier this year as the suspect in two nearly 20-year-old cold…

3 hours ago

What it means to be a veteran on Veterans Day

Several years ago, I wrote an article on the meaning of Memorial Day for the San Francisco Examiner. You see,…

4 hours ago

SF firefighters extinguish 1-alarm blaze at building near Interstate 280

A one-alarm fire broke out early Monday morning at a commercial structure in the area below U.S. Interstate 280 in…

4 hours ago