Hundreds of local students received free backpacks and school supplies at the Bakersfield Homeless Center’s annual backpack giveaway Saturday.
“I got a backpack, socks, and a book and a toy,” 3rd grader Lea Ray said. “So I could go to school and I could learn.”
Over 800 backpacks filled with school supplies were donated by community members through KGET’s backpack drive and donations from the Bakersfield East Rotary Club.
“The reality is our children don’t get to go back-to-school shopping the way other kids get to do that,” Cindy Lyday with the homeless center said. “They are just like any other kid. They’re nervous, they want to meet their teachers, their brand new friends and they want to have everything the other kids have, so this gives them that chance.”
Without the generosity of the community, many of the kids that received school supplies would go to school using hand-me-downs or nothing at all.
“It means a lot because it, just seeing them happy and I know without it I probably wouldn’t have the things, the nice things they have given us,” Sonya Fisher, mother of three, said. “I probably wouldn’t have been able to get it for them.”
“It’s a happy and blessing thing,” Nubia Cornejo, mother of nine, said. “Because, I mean, some parents can’t do this, we can’t buy them and I think this is helpful for all of us.”
Heather Robeson and her daughter Tyleeh Edmund just moved to Bakersfield two months ago. With little money left over from the move, back-to-school shopping was not in the budget for them.
“We we’re really stressed out about not getting backpacks and stuff that we needed for school and when we heard about this it was like a major stress reliever,” Robeson said. “It really helped a lot.”
For many students, school starts Wednesday.