‘Better together’: Over 1,000 backpacks given away at annual back-to-school outreach

Jul 30, 2018

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Posted – July 26, 2018
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VICTORVILLE — The scorching heat could not melt away the smiles on the faces of hundreds of children who participated in the annual Backpack Outreach hosted by the Victor Valley Rescue Mission and Faith Christian Church.

Over 1,000 backpacks, school supplies, clothes, shoes and other school necessities were handed out by an army of volunteers at the annual back-to-school event held Thursday at FCC in Victorville.

Christian music echoed across the church parking lot as children ate lunch, had their faces painted, received free haircuts and manicures, enjoyed crafts, ate snow cones and drank multiple bottles of water.

“Even as we speak, the backpacks are flying off the shelves,” VVRM Community Relations Coordinator Dawn Seeley told the Daily Press. “I don’t have an exact count, but it seems like we have more people here than last year.”

During the event, a puppet show entertained the children as the “good news” of the gospel was shared, Seeley said.

Cecilia Martinez and her three children enjoyed frozen ice pops and sodas in the shade as guests met with physicians inside the Health to Hope’s Mobile Medical Clinic.

“It’s such a blessing to get free backpacks and school supplies for our kids,” said Martinez, 35, who lives in Adelanto. “Money has been tight so this outreach really helps our family a lot.”

A line of over 40 people stretched across the parking lot as families waited to browse through tents filled with clothing and a variety of new shoes that were provided by the local nonprofit Happy Feet Sole to Soul.

The success of this year’s outreach was credited to “the generous High Desert community,” along with volunteers from FCC, Azusa Pacific University’s High Desert Regional Campus, the Victorville Taekwondo Martial Arts Studio and the VVRM, said rescue mission Volunteer Coordinator Jeremy George.

“We also had a group of 16 Chinese foreign exchange students who decided to roll up their sleeves and help,” said George, who rattled off a long list of nonprofits, businesses, school districts and individuals who helped with the Backpack Outreach and support the year-long efforts of VVRM.

After the Backpack Outreach, organizers with the VVRM will begin preparing for the nonprofit’s 10th annual Sponsor Appreciation Banquet in September and holiday season activities that will include the annual Thanksgiving banquet and Christmas toy giveaway.

“One of our themes is ‘We’re Better Together,’ which is the perfect picture of what is happening here today,” Seeley said. “So many people came together to make it better for our children and the community.”


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