As students prepare for the new school year, Valleywise Health Foundation distributed nearly 2,500 backpacks packed with school supplies on July 16 and 17 to students in Maricopa County’s most vulnerable communities. More than 120 volunteers assisted in the drive-thru distribution of backpacks across seven Valleywise Health Family Learning Center locations across the Valley.
Families who engage with Valleywise Health Family Learning Centers were invited to pre-register to receive a backpack before opening to the broader community. Backpacks included staple items like pens, pencils, composition books, pocket folders, crayons and more.
Thanks to our presenting sponsors, Molina Complete Care and Nova Home Loans, generous sponsors Arizona Central Credit Union, National Charity League, Target, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Tri Sigma Foundation Phoenix Alumnae Chapter, and community partners, Arizona Coyotes Foundation, Milwaukee Brewers and Ingram Micro, Valleywise Health Foundation surpassed its fundraising goal of $25,000 to help provide students with all the supplies needed to succeed. This fundraising amount, along with additional in-kind donations of approximately $14,000 breaks the record for most raised by the annual backpack drive event.
“I think we can all relate to the back-to-school excitement kids experience each summer, but sometimes students can feel left out if they don’t have the supplies they need,” says Nate Lowrie, CEO ofValleywise Health Foundation. “And the beginning of this year feels even more special as many children return to in-person learning, so we hope these backpacks give them that extra boost as they head out the door each morning.”
Families picking up their backpacks at Valleywise Health Family Learning Center – South Phoenix/Laveen received an additional surprise in the form of pantry items thanks to a partnership with St. Mary’s Food Bank and United Healthcare Community Plan. Volunteers from Valleywise Health pre-packaged the food and distributed along with the stocked backpacks to 125 families.
Year-round donations for the backpack drive and other initiatives are accepted at valleywisehealthfoundation.org or school supplies can be purchased directly through their Amazon Wishlist to provide for children at their Family Learning Centers throughout the year.
For more information, please visit valleywisehealthfoundation.org.