Burbank Nonprofit Coalition Hands Out Backpacks Filled with School Supplies at Annual Back to School Event

(Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

The Burbank Nonprofit Coalition gave away school supplies to local youth at their annual Back to School Event, which took place at the Burbank Community YMCA on Saturday, August 7.

(Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

A drive-thru pickup system was utilized for the occasion, during which free backpacks filled with supplies were distributed to children in preparation for their upcoming school year. From 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., a group of elementary, middle, and high school students and their family members visited the parking lot of the YMCA to receive the materials from a group of over 75 volunteers.  

“It’s been going just great,” Burbank Housing Corporation Executive Director Sylvia Moreno said of the event. “Everyone’s motivated and happy to be here.”

Elementary and middle school age visitors collected backpacks at the drive-thru, each with a kit including a pocket folder, paper, pens and pencils, crayons, rulers, and pencil sharpeners.

High schoolers received totes with a two-inch binder, four pocket folders, college ruled spiral notebooks, composition books, dividers, and more. 

Raha Arnold, ​Director of Operations & Asset Management of the Burbank Housing Corporation, has donated her efforts to the Back to School giveaway since 2009. Arnold led the event this year and noted the importance of offering such assistance to families in need of school necessities. 

“[This] takes a burden off of them,” Arnold said of giving locals school supplies. “We’ve seen quite a bit of love and appreciation from our tenants because they just really appreciate the fact that they don’t have to go to Target or Wal-Mart to get these essential items they’re being given…And they really have everything they need, including a fresh backpack.”

(Photo By: Edward Tovmassian)

These offerings are given away each year to low-income members of the Burbank community. Some key donors who made the event possible include Cusumano Real Estate Group, the Burbank Unified School District, Georgino Development, Burbank Water and Power, and the Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley. 

Resident Melina Bravo brought her daughter, Michaela Hernandez, to the YMCA Saturday to pick up a backpack for her first-grade year in school. This was the first year Hernandez was a recipient of supplies from the local nonprofits, and Bravo expressed her gratitude for the contributions of participating Burbank organizations. 

“This is pretty nice. It’s…getting the kids more excited [about] going back to school,” Bravo said of the event. “I’m a single mother, so it helps out as well.”

400 backpacks and totes were prepared and distributed for the occasion, along with an additional 400 totes for parents filled with essential items such as information on various resources within the City of Burbank, food items, pens, markers, and more. Prior to the date of the actual giveaway, volunteers convened for two days of planning, preparation, and backpack packing at South Hills Church in Burbank. On these days, nearly 150 volunteers prepared the backpacks and totes for the duration of six-hour workdays.

The humanitarian efforts of nonprofits involved in the annual occasion continue to generate positive sentiments amongst the Burbank community.

“Families are happy to be part of this event and everyone’s excited to go back to school,” Moreno said.