Sunnyvale Community Services provides back-to-school supplies for families in need

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the heart of Silicon Valley, a stream of cars rolled into the Sunnyvale Community Services parking lot Monday in search of free school supplies.

Anxious parents were there to pick up much-needed items, including free book bags - even though books won't be placed in them any time soon.

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"Whether or not the schools are going to be open, the children want to and need to be ready to learn," said Sunnyvale Community Services Executive Director Marie Bernard. "These backpacks are going to give them the school supplies they will use whether or not they are sheltering in place or going to school."

There were 1,600 families in need who were helped last year. Now the number is up to 2,000, according to the Community Services Families are provided with $100 worth of school supplies -- everything from pencils, paper, crayons, binders, folders, and a $45 gift card to buy a new pair of shoes.

A second backpack giveaway will be held on Aug. 3.

Families living in Sunnyvale are asked to pre-register by phone at 408-738-4321 and show up during their appointment window.

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Donations from big tech companies Google, Facebook, Linkedin, and NetApp made the event possible, showing there's need in Sunnyvale, too.

There really is poverty in every part of the county and every part of the Bay Area," Bernard said. "In Sunnyvale, the working poor - people who have lost a lot of their jobs are suffering the most."

More than 800 families have signed on to the Sunnyvale Community Services rent assistance program since the pandemic hit, and there are fears that number could continue to grow as the crisis lingers on.

"(These) students, we need them to be ready to learn because this is our future here in Silicon Valley. We need to have our children to be ready to learn and thrive," Bernard said.

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