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Neil Hafley store offers free backpacks, supplies
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Neil Hafley School officer manager Patty Wilson is joined by fourth-grade student Rayanna Hester and her older sister, Darion, who is in seventh grade. The Hester sisters and members of the community made possible the “Little Free Store” on campus benefiting those in need with backpacks and numerous school supplies. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Neil Hafley School officials were overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.

In a time when money is tight, the Manteca Unified kindergarten-through-eighth-grade site recently received a boost in the form of back packs and school supplies to assist financially needy students.

These items can be found in a room located in the main office deemed the “Little Free Store,” according to Patty Wilson.

The school’s office manager said Wednesday that back packs and supplies will be distributed to students on a per need basis

“We sent e-mails to our teachers,” Wilson said. “They’ll notify us with the names of the students without supplies.”

To ensure anonymity, those youngsters will soon be invited to the “Little Free Store” to pick out the items needed in a private setting.

School started on Monday, with Neil Hafley School stocking up on the supplies about two weeks ago.

The efforts came from multiple sources, Wilson said.
Pastor Steve Cole of Northgate Community Church, for starters, made possible some of the school resources. His church is scheduled to raise more money for the school via a benefit barbecue.

“The church has been active in helping our school,” Principal Steve Anderson said.

Another organization, The Women of Woodbridge, from the active adult community of Del Webb chipped in by delivering several bags of supplies to the school.

Clifford and Jo Ann Stevens, grandparents of the school, brought in boxes of tissue boxes – two per each classroom – along with bottles of hand sanitizers.

Trini Madrano, a parent of the school, secured donations from the local Costco and Wal-Mart stores for gift cards earmarked for teachers’ supplies.

And then there were efforts of Rayanna and Darion Hester.

The sisters took it upon themselves to donate the proceeds made from cashing in their recyclables of aluminum cans, glass, and plastic bottles to the school, in turn, making possible more school supplies.

“We really wanted to help (our needy students),” said Darion Hester, who a seventh-grade student.

Her younger sibling, Rayanna, a fourth grader, was also happy to help out, crediting her folks and church for instilling values such as the spirit of giving.