Community Gives Back With Pack a Backpack Drive

Glendale is known for its glamorous city life, flashy cars and ritzy shopping centers. There is no wonder it has the nickname “The Jewel City.” But in the midst of Glendale’s prosperity there is a little known, but always seen, community — the homeless. It’s hard to think that homeless people aren’t just adults.

In fact, there are a reported 240 homeless men, women and children within Glendale, according to the 2016 City of Glendale Homeless Count survey.

Glendale Community College launched the Pack a Backpack initiative in 2008, which is part of the School on Wheels program. “We immediately thought of homeless children, because children are our future and there are a lot of homeless children out there who need assistance,” said Nane Kakosian, Student Services Tech of Multicultural and Community Engagement Center (MCEC). “We decided to do Pack A BackPack, which collects schools supplies of all kinds and we give it to homeless [students].”

Kakosian has been collecting donations since July 17 in room 267 of the Sierra Madre building. The program is accepting donations through Sept. 25.

GCC students have responded generously to those in need. Sevana Henry has donated a backpack two years in a row. “I just like to do good deeds,” Henry said. “And I like my name on that tree.” She points to a little paper mache tree on display of the MCEC building alongside the many donated school supplies like notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, rulers and, of course, backpacks.

Josh Fein, president of the board with School on Wheels, described the mission of the program in a statement.

“Since 1993, our mission has never wavered: to enhance educational opportunities for homeless children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Our students live in shelters, motels, group foster homes, cars or on the street,“ Fein said.

Although Pack A Backpack is strictly donations, students can also volunteer as a tutor for School On Wheels. Over 2,000 volunteers from 150 different counties tutored 3,450 students in 2016, according to School On Wheels Organization.

GCC is a thriving institute both academically and architecturally, but all these opportunities and new developments could have not been possible without the past and present scholars of this school. Let us build a bridge for the future graduates together, because although prosperity and hardship can coexist, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge those in need.

So, donate a backpack or school supplies to room SM 267 and help our community.