With a record-setting annual impact, the GSF Foundation’s Back(pack) to School program reached a new high of more than 14,800 students supported and 29 local Committees participating this year. Volunteers across the U.S. purchased, stuffed, and delivered backpacks filled with school supplies for young students in need in communities where Golden State Foods associates live and work.
“Thank you to each Committee that participated, to the facility leaders whose support of these efforts is invaluable, and to our local Foundation leaders who plan and organize the program in their communities,” said Vanessa Hugon, GSF Foundation’s Programs and Development Manager. “Whether it’s 30 backpacks or 300, every donation is making a difference for kids in our communities.”
With the largest backpack donation for the second consecutive year, the KanPak team in Penn Yan, New York supported local students by providing more than 1,460 backpacks this year. Quality Custom Distribution (QCD) San Antonio organized more than 800 backpack donations, while QCD Los Angeles donated over 640 backpacks and QCD Orlando delivered over 500 backpacks to Florida students in need this back-to-school season.
For the first time this year, volunteers from QCD Chicago East and QCD Minneapolis organized Back(pack) to School events in their communities. Other participating committees in 2023 include: KanPak locations in Kansas and New York; GSF locations in Burleson, Texas; City of Industry, California; Conyers, Georgia; Irvine, California; and Opelika, Alabama and QCD locations in Albuquerque, Boston, Charlotte (North Carolina), Chicago West, Denver, Fontana (California), Frisco (Texas), Honolulu, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Seattle, St. Louis (CLC) and Suffolk (Virginia). Additionally, GSF business partners like Craftsmen, Morning Star, and Taylor Farms have partnered with GSFF teams to support their community backpack donations this year.
In response to the GSF Irvine team’s Back(pack) to School donations, first-graders from Davis Elementary School in Santa Ana, California shared a message of gratitude with GSFF volunteers: “Thank you for the awesome backpacks filled with school supplies. It made us feel happy and excited to receive them from you. We appreciate your kind thoughtfulness. Golden State Foods, you are the best! Thanks again, Mrs. Trammell’s students.”
During the QCD Chicago West Committee’s backpack donation delivery to Robert C. Hill Elementary School students, driver helper Ozzy Nunez volunteered with his local GSFF team for the first time and enjoyed seeing the joy on the children’s faces and the numerous affirmations of appreciation from their parents. After distributing 120 backpacks to kids in need, Ozzy commented to the Chicago West GSFF Committee Chair, “We need more kids!” With more volunteers like Ozzy enthusiastically supporting Back(pack) to School, the program continues to grow with each year that local Foundation teams organize donations.
The Back(pack) to School program provides children who would otherwise go without school supplies the necessary tools to start the school year ready to learn. Since the Foundation’s founding in 2002, over 167,350 backpacks have reached children in need around the U.S. and alleviated school supply expenses for their families.