Tis the season for printed-out school supply lists, last-minute online shopping with 2-day delivery, and restocking on the kids’ favorite snacks. In other words, it is officially back-to-school season.
During this hectic season of change, it is easy to fall into a pattern of routine again. Yet, for some, going back to school can hold an alternate meaning of the word stress. There is a large handful of students who do not hold the same access to back-to-school supplies as others. These students are not properly equipped with the tools that will help them succeed in a classroom. Thankfully, there are local communities dedicated to closing this divide.
For this back-to-school season, Comcast has been a part of at least three school-supply drives: Supporting our Schools, Stuff the Bus, and Asian Resources, Inc. Backpack Distribution
For many years now, the Supporting our Schools Backpack Drive is an event put on by Supporting Our Schools, a nationwide school supply drive spearheaded by NBC and Telemundo. Here in the Bay, NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48 are working with Family Giving Tree to help collect supplies and funds that will help students and teachers in need. The Family Giving Tree set the goal to provide 28,000 supply-filled backpacks to students from families facing financial hardship- that is 2,000 more than the goal last year! On top of Comcast’s 200 backpack donation, Xfinity retail locations set up 14 different drop-off sites in the Bay Area for backpack donations that the public can make. The 14 locations can be found here.
The Supporting our Schools Backpack Drive launched on July 24th at an Xfinity Store in San Jose. Comcast employees came from all around the Bay to participate in the exciting event as backpacks were stuffed with school supplies, such as pens, pencils, notebooks, glue sticks, and more. Additionally, NBC Bay Area did a segment with Jacob Mitchell, VP of Sales and Marketing for California, alongside a segment from Telemundo 48 with Adriana Arvizo, Public Relations Manager for California. Both Comcasters were excited to share the news about the mission and give a behind the scenes showing of the process to the local news stations.
A week later, Stuff the Bus took place in Santa Cruz, and was another successful back-to-school event. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education and United Way of Santa Cruz County have organized this event for the past 14 years and have grown to supply more than 2,800 K-12 students with new school supplies for this upcoming school year. This involves packaging more than 2,800 backpacks full of the necessary materials that will allow kids to focus on their schoolwork and then stuffing a yellow school bus with them.
Comcast was excited to sponsor the back-to-school drive in Santa Cruz again. This employee effort included Xfinity retail representatives, external affairs, and employees from EffecTV, the advertising arm of Comcast, who all came together on August 5th to make the event possible. In addition to the backpacks being filled with classic school materials like pencils and notebooks, students received information about Comcast’s affordable internet program, Internet Essentials, and the federal Affordability Connectivity Program.
“It’s an opportunity for the community to come together,” says Lennies Gutierrez, Director of Government Affairs for Comcast, whose family came out in public for the first time after Covid to stuff the bus last year. “We were all so happy to be out there in the community again. Our employees are really looking for stuff like this to do. That’s been a really important piece of getting out there. It’s a great showing of support.” Comcast also made a cash contribution of $2,500 to the effort.
Recently, Joan Hammel, Senior Director of External Communications for Comcast, visited KRON4’s LIVE! in the Bay to discuss how Comcast is ensuring students have the tools they need for success in the classroom and at home. Watch the segment with host Olivia Horton here.
Lastly, there was an event put on by the Asian Resources, Inc. (ARI). The ARI is a nonprofit community-based organization that was established in 1980, and is dedicated to providing multiple social services needed in their community and empowering everyone they serve to become a vital part of the changing and diverse society. The event, sponsored by Comcast and others, consisted of Comcast employees and other volunteers prepping approximately 350 backpacks by stuffing each one with school supplies and sorting according to age groups. A week later, on August 3rd, volunteers were at the ARI headquarters in Sacramento to help distribute free backpacks with supplies for students K-8th. In addition to this, the event also consisted of free dental screenings, free COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as information and resources regarding Affordable Connectivity program and Internet Essentials. Hundreds of students and families showed up the day of the event to pick up the backpacks, and was another great back-to-school success.
Events like Supporting our Schools and Stuff the Bus are great reminders that accessibility to essentials should be available to all, no matter the financial standpoint. This includes accessibility to things like Internet through qualifying programs like the previously mentioned Affordable Connectivity Program. Qualified households that meet the eligible requirements can receive up to $30/mo on Xfinity internet and mobile services. Click here to learn more about the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Internet Essentials from Comcast provides affordable home Internet for qualifying households ($9.95/mo for up to 50Mbps, or $29.95/mo for up to 100 Mbps)- as well as low-cost computers, free WIFI hotspots, and free internet training. Click here to learn more about Internet Essentials from Xfinity.