More than 450 Deserving Students Now Have Backpacks, School Supplies Thanks to Program Participants, Suppliers and Board Members
U.S. Communities, the leading national government and education purchasing cooperative, encouraged philanthropy by raising awareness for underprivileged school children during its 2014 Annual Planning Meeting for Suppliers and Advisory Board Members.
With more than 8,500 people experiencing homelessness every day in San Diego-- 2,000 of which are children--meeting organizers recognized an opportunity to make a difference in the community that welcomed them for this annual event. U.S. Communities reached out to its supplier partners with a proposition: would they be willing to make monetary contributions and/or donate supplies to provide backpacks to at-risk school children? Organizers then turned to one of its largest program participants, the San Diego Unified School District, for assistance in identifying schools with the highest-need students.
Following dinner on the first day of the meeting, attendees formed “assembly” lines to fill each backpack with everything from pencils and water bottles to pocket folders, rulers and calculators.
“Traditionally at our Annual Meeting, we are focused on the meeting content and the opportunity to network” says Kevin Juhring, General Manager of U.S. Communities. “Recognizing an immediate need among San Diego school children, our program participants, suppliers, Advisory Board Members and board members enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to give back this year. Their generosity showed a lot of heart, and we are proud to count them as part of the U.S. Communities family.”
Support was so strong for the U.S. Communities Backpack Initiative that the original goal of collecting school supplies to fill 200 backpacks was exceeded by more than double. The generous donations made it possible to distribute 450 backpacks to deserving students. The additional backpacks were made possible from the overwhelming response from our supplier partners: Applied Industrial Technologies, CARQUEST, Cintas, Fisher Science Education, GameTime, Garland, Graybar, Haworth, Independent Stationers, Insight Public Sector, KONE, ServiceWear, The Home Depot, UNICOM Government, and Virco.
Arthur S. Hanby, Jr, strategic sourcing and contracts officer for the San Diego Unified School District, personally thanked U.S. Communities and meeting attendees. During the next morning’s welcoming remarks, Phil Stover, Deputy Superintendent, was officially presented with the backpack donation. “Our district serves an estimated 5,000 children and youths-in-transition experiencing homelessness each year,” said Hanby. “These include children and teenagers whose families have lost adequate housing, or are living in emergency, transitional or domestic violence shelters. Other have been forced out of their homes, have left voluntarily to escape violence or drug and alcohol abuse, or are refugees from war-torn countries around the world. What they need is a chance—a chance to succeed and a chance to hope. These backpacks help give them this chance.”