Glendale Community College’s Pack-A-Backpack Drive is back for the first time since the pandemic put it on hold. Hosted by the college’s organizations, Multicultural & Community Engagement Center and College Corps, the goal of this drive is to supply children experiencing homelessness with new school supplies.
With a target of filling 100 new backpacks with new supplies, MCEC and College Corps are asking people to donate backpacks, binders, subject dividers, folders, writing utensils, pencils, glue sticks, notebooks, arts and crafts materials and beyond.
“As a community, I think it’s our responsibility to make sure that our children have the necessary equipment needed to succeed in their classes,” Nane Kakosian, the interim program manager of College Corps, told the News-Press. “Young children should not have to be concerned about [needing new school supplies] when they go to their classrooms.”
According to Glendale’s 2023 Homeless Count, 37% of the people who were counted as homeless had children in their families. This report also indicated that unhoused children living in shelters were primarily doing so to flee from domestic violence in their families.
With the drive ending Friday, Oct. 27, Kakosian said they have not reached their 100 backpack goal and are still eager to receive more supplies. To raise awareness, the organizations have sent out campuswide emails, partnered with the college’s honor society, Alpha Gamma Sigma, and advertised around campus.
Once the donation period ends, the materials collected will be sent to School on Wheels, an organization that provides educational resources and mentoring for unhoused youth across Southern California.
Hoover Zariani, the manager of MCEC, said the majority of the supplies they receive come from the GCC community, particularly the faculty. Donations can be dropped off or shipped to the Multicultural Center, located at 1500 N. Verdugo Rd. in Glendale. They also accept checks and will provide receipts for purchases to ensure all funds donated are going toward buying school supplies for unhoused youth.
“These children already have so many challenges being homeless,” Zariani told the News-Press. “They don’t need one more thing to be worried about. ‘Am I going to get a notebook or pen or crayons or coloring pencils?’”
First published in the October 21 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.