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Ray of Hope backpack, supplies drive underway
Ray of Hope backpack
The Ray of Hope Back-to-School Backpack and School Supply Drive is currently underway. - photo by Contributed

Ray of Hope’s annual Back-to-School Backpack and School Supply Drive is back.
From now through July 25, the non-profit organization that provides crisis services and resources to San Joaquin County children in need is accepting backpacks, binders, folders/dividers, highlighters/felt pens, mechanical pencils/pens, calculators (including specific types), index cards, crayons/colored pencils, college ruled paper/notebooks, and hand sanitizers/Lysol wipes.
"We're facing an unusual year ahead with the issues COVID-19 has presented," said Laura Vieira-Saunders.
The Ray of Hope executive director added that the Student Success Program provides backpacks, school supplies and hygiene items.
"This year, (we) will be offering the Kids Cupboard Food Pantry services to be included for all students signed up in the program. We are doing this especially for kids who may do distance learning but heavily relied on school meals before the pandemic," she said.
Nutrition plays a big role in the development of young people.
"They not only need the tools to succeed regardless where they are living or their home circumstances, but they need food as well. They deserve to be prepared and feel socially equal to their peers," said Vieira-Saunders.
At Ray of Hope, she pointed out that youngsters of the program can make private appointments in order to pick up the necessary clothing and essentials without fearing peers will know their situation.
The program, in addition, will allow them to replenish school supplies on a quarterly basis.
"The goal is to keep the kids nourished, prepared and feeling like any other kid with the same opportunities," Vieira-Saunders said.
 Ray of Hope is seeking businesses along with various groups, churches and more to collect the new backpacks, school supplies, etc.
The drop-off points include Cabral Motors and Pro Touch Auto and Ray of Hope's facility at 113 W. Yosemite Ave.

For more information, log on to Facebook and Instagram or email or call 209.883.6411