First 5 San Bernardino hosts much needed backpack drive through this past Saturday

Photos First 5 San Bernardino: Hundreds of cars lined up on East Date Street in San Bernardino to participate in First 5 San Bernardino’s drive through Backpack and Kinder Kit giveaway on August 28, 2021. Dr. Wendy Lee, First 5 San Bernardino employee, gets a little help from Heavenly Ekpo, age 4 of Highland, handing out backpacks in a variety of colors and kinder kits full of supplies that kindergarten students need.

This past Saturday, First 5 San Bernardino partnered with IEHP and Ecclesia Christian Fellowship Church for a Backpack and Kinder Kit Drive Thru event. The event lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Once ten o’clock rolled around, cars were lining up around the corner with children and families excited to get their free backpacks and kinder kits.

“I want to pick a blue one because that’s my favorite color,” exclaimed Vasni Duran, age 5, of San Bernardino County.

Vasni Duran, age 5 of San Bernardino, picking out her favorite color blue backpack from Dr. Wendy Lee.

Saturday was a scorching hot day, reaching 104 degrees. Despite the heat, families showed up and First 5 San Bernardino provided them with essential school supplies.

“We had over 700 people register online. If they’re coming out in this heat, they need the supplies and we’re happy to provide them,” shared LuCretia Dowdy, Marketing Aide for First 5 San Bernardino.

The partnership between these three organizations yielded amazing results. First 5 was able to supply children with backpacks and supplies, while IEHP was there to administer COVID-19 vaccines, and Ecclesia was able to help its community by hosting the event.

“Pastors Joshua and Lynda Beckley approved this awesome event, and we had an amazing turnout,” said Marvin Williams, Youth Pastor at Ecclesia. “Great things happen when organizations work in conjunction and we welcome more events like this to help our community.”

The supplies they were providing included, backpacks, crayons, scissors, pencils, glue sticks, and erasers.

“As we were handing out the backpacks; I got a flavor of how the families were doing, overall they said this was a big help as this past year has been tough due to covid,” said Kimberly VandenBosch, First 5 San Bernardino Communications Officer.

With the community needing these supplies due to unfortunate circumstances, First 5 is taking advantage of the opportunity to help the community.

“The turnout was tremendous, and I believe is a direct reflection of how great the need is right now, specifically for parents with young children,” shared Karen E. Scott, Executive Director of First 5 San Bernardino. “We knew it was important to provide these much-needed school supplies to our local families, so children could feel supported and have access to essentials as they start preschool and kindergarten.”

While events like this provide supplies to help children going to school succeed in the classroom and at home, this only scratches the surface of what First 5 San Bernardino does.

“At First 5, we want to help children from prenatal to 5 years old. These years are pivotal, as science shows that if a child is in a good environment and are talked, sang, and read to, they will be a more productive citizen,” explained VandenBosch.

The reason for the focus on this age bracket is because studies show that by the age of 5, 90 percent of a child’s brain has already developed.

With attention to supporting the community, First 5 San Bernardino works with various organizations to help provide services for families with children prenatal to 5 years old in the community.

“We work with different organizations that provide direct services to the community. We work with these community partners that fund children’s health to create a safe and loving community for these children,” concluded VandenBosch.