The start of a new school year is an exciting time for most children, but for homeless children, this is a time open to emotional and academic challenges. Without even the most basic supplies, these students start at a disadvantage that only gets worse as the school year progresses. The Stanislaus County Office of Education aims to provide local homeless and at-risk youth with new backpacks and school supplies – tools they need to achieve academic success. The Operation Backpack Drive is slated for July 13 through 31. School supplies and backpacks can be dropped off at a variety of locations.
Locally, Prime Shine Car Wash sites in Oakdale and Riverbank are accepting donations. In addition, five Modesto Prime Shine locations are taking donations along with two in Ceres and two in Turlock, one in Patterson. Also, supplies can be dropped off at Modesto locations including the Stanislaus County Office of Education at 1100 H St., Alfred Matthews Cadillac GMC Buick, 3807 McHenry Ave., Mocse Credit Union sites at 1400 J St. and 3600 Coffee Road, Modesto and 1401 Geer Road, Turlock; plus the Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, 600 Coffee Road, Modesto, at the Information Desk.
“SCOE is receiving wonderful support from local businesses and organizations like Alfred Matthews Buick GMC Cadillac, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, and Mocse Credit Union,” said Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon.
This year SCOE hopes to serve as many of the 6,500 homeless children living in Stanislaus County as possible. Filled backpacks are distributed to children in schools via school district homeless liaisons.
“Operation Backpack enables us to distribute backpacks to kids who wouldn’t have them otherwise and for us that’s huge,” added Changnon. “We invite the community to support the homeless and low-income children and their families by bringing new backpacks filled with school supplies to one of the drop-off locations throughout Modesto.”
Additional information including a full listing of all drop-off locations, how to volunteer, and the option to give online, is available at www.stancoe.org/go/backpack.
Homeless children face a wide variety of challenges and long-lasting issues that are profoundly detrimental to their development and ability to learn, ultimately affecting their success in life. According to The National Center on Family Homelessness, homeless children are eight times more likely to be asked to repeat a grade; three times as likely to be placed in special education classes; and twice as likely to score lower on standardized tests. Operation Backpack seeks to provide some sense of normalcy and remove one obstacle from homeless students’ lives. With a new backpack and new school supplies, students get to feel more like “regular kids” and can start the school year on more even footing.