- Felicia Matlosz
FRESNO, CA – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) has joined with other community leaders in partnership with Binational of Central California (BOCC) to distribute backpacks for the new school year to children whose education has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on their families.
BOCC is conducting a multi-community “Education is Power” Backpack Tour that kicks off Saturday, August 6, at the office of partner United Way Fresno and Madera Counties, 4949 E. Kings Canyon Road. Assemblymember Arambula will be at this distribution as well as other stops on the tour.
The event will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Activities will include games, arts and crafts, and ice cream treats for each child. In addition, BOCC will host a Health and Resource Fair featuring information booths of 20 community-based organizations. BOCC is a nonprofit organization that strives to help farmworkers with issues, such as food insecurity, rental assistance, and child care.
BOCC’s tour goal is to distribute 5,000 backpacks filled with key school supplies to children, particularly those in rural areas, for the 2022-23 year. And, BOCC will deliver backpacks to families who can’t attend these events because of work or transportation issues.
To make the giveaways even more special, each backpack will be customized with the child’s name, age, and favorite color in mind. The backpacks will contain a personalized note along with supplies, such as paper, notebooks, pencils, crayons, and more.
Assemblymember Arambula said: “We know the pandemic had an adverse effect on children and their education, especially in disadvantaged and rural communities where COVID-19 disproportionately afflicted Latinos and other ethnic minorities. BOCC and its partners want these children to look forward to school and have a successful year. We hope providing these essential supplies will help stir an excitement, eagerness, and appreciation for learning.”
Ricardo Castorena, Executive Director of BOCC, said: “Preparing our children to face the upcoming school year with hope and optimism after this pandemic has showed that if we come together, we can help our community rise.”
Janette Lomeli of the Fresno Teachers Association said: “We are excited to participate and partner with BOCC to provide our students with the support they need. Our goal is to advocate for our students and educators so that our students can focus on learning and staying healthy in and outside the classroom.”
Other tour partners include State Senator Anna Caballero, who represents the 12th Senate District; the Educational Leadership Foundation; Unidad Popular Benito Juarez; Central Valley Fuego; and other community-based organizations.
On Saturday, a second giveaway is scheduled for 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at Chukchansi Park, 1800 Tulare St. in Fresno.
Other tour stops are mostly scheduled between August 12 and August 21 in communities that include Calwa, Firebaugh, and Lanare. For more information about the upcoming events, you can send an email to email@example.com.