OCEANO, Calif. - As the start of school fast approaches, so too does the rush to purchase school supplies. With so many items needed, such as a backpack, folders, paper, pens, etc., it can be a very costly expense this time of year for parents.
For 300 children enrolled in the summer program at the Boys & Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County in Oceano, their new school supplies are coming free of charge.
"We are doing a backpack giveaway," said executive director, Beth Raub, Boys & Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County. "The Kiwanis of Greater Pismo Beach and Rotary Club of Arroyo Grande have given us enough to give our kids backpacks fully stuffed with school supplies."
On Thursday morning, members of both service clubs handed backpacks to the kids, which also included a wide assortment of school supplies.
"It's really important to all of us," said Kiwanian Tony Wood. "We're all parents and grandparents and the kids, especially in the South County, need a lot of help."
Raub said that's particularly true for a number of the kids who are members at the club.
"This is a huge benefit," said Raub. "We're trying to help because 105 of our families are single-parent households, so we're trying to help them economically by giving them backpacks."
The children, which ranged in grades from kindergarten through high school, happily accepted the generous donations, and even got to choose what color they wanted for many of the items.
"It's exciting," said second grader Future Mendoza. "So when I go back to school, I can have all of my stuff ready."
Making sure the kids are fully equipped for school is a major reason why Raub says this giveaway is so important.
"We find this gives them encouragement and the confidence as they're walking in and ready to go," said Raub. "Our mission is to be there for the kids, and really provide the resources, so they become productive, caring adults and citizens, and so this is part of that, giving them a head start to make that leap and make good choices."
With a brand new backpack packed with school supplies, the children appreciated their good fortune and the kindness displayed by both local service clubs.
"Some people actually don't have the money to buy a backpack," said sixth grader Joseph Ahumada. "So it was good for the community to put this all together so we can get free backpacks for people who don't have the chance to get one."
"It's really nice because it saves you time and money on school supplies you would have bought at the store, but instead you got here," said sixth grader Lily Creamer.