3,300 students receiving new backpacks, school supplies from San Jose charity

Friday, August 11, 2017 12:05PM
Thousands of South Bay kids and their parents are lining up for school supplies at Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose.

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Thousands of South Bay kids and their parents are lining up for school supplies. It's part of the annual backpack giveaway at Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose.

The backpacks are flying off the shelves right now and then they're replaced. This is going to go on all day long. The last appointment is at 5:30 p.m. But it takes a lot more than just the people coming in to get the backpacks. It takes about 300 volunteers to put on this event today.

It's like shopping in a store. There are 3,300 students who are picking out backpacks today at Sacred Heart Community Service. School supplies are also provided.

In 2005, schools asked for 11 items for the classroom -- now it's 21. But the number of students signed up for the backpack giveaway has stayed the same compared to last year.

"You know we have heard from school districts, parents leaving the area because it's just too expensive to live here," said Jill Mitsch, Sacred Heart Community Service.

A lot has changed over the years for Steve Vuong. This is his fifth year in a row volunteering, but he's been coming here since elementary school.

"I used to come here as a kid. My parents weren't well off," said Steve.

Steve now volunteers for many events at Sacred Heart, but the backpack giveaway is special for him.

"I remember as a kid that sense that I'm not good enough for everybody but with good support and stuff it made me really driven to focus on school and you know pretty much achieve anything. So like I just want to help these kids with the way I felt as a kid," said Steve.

Kids like the ones in the Hernandez family, Joshua, Jason and Jesse get to pick their backpacks. First grader Jesse found what he wanted, a smile on his face and sharks on his backpack.

"You found the shark one, huh?" asked ABC7's Matt Keller.

"Yeah," said Jesse.

"Does it make you happy?" asked Keller.

"Yes," said Jesse.

Every family also gets a gift card for shoes. It's all made possible through donations.

Click here if you would like to help and donate to Sacred Heart.
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