Students at six Rialto Unified School District (RUSD) elementary schools were welcomed with a special surprise to start the 2022-2023 school year — free backpacks filled with school supplies.
Staff from Fiscal Services, under the umbrella of RUSD Business Services, organized the sixth annual backpack drive with 30 companies, businesses and civic organizations generously joining to donate backpacks and supplies. The backpack drive resulted in more than 2,000 backpacks distributed to students at Bemis, Boyd, Casey, Dunn, Garcia and Preston elementary schools.
“It is so important for our students to have the necessary essentials to begin the school year, and we are extremely thankful to everyone who made this possible for our students. Observing the excitement and joy it brought to them is something words just can’t express,” stated Nicole Albiso, RUSD Lead Fiscal Services Agent.
Each student selected their own backpack from a wide variety of options. As students walked through a maze of backpacks, they closely inspected each one, looking for the perfect match. The backpacks came in all different colors and were disseminated across tables so each student could pick one of their choice. Teachers, principals, and various areas of Business Services, including Warehouse, Maintenance and Operation, Nutrition and Risk Management Services assisted Fiscal Services leaders, along with representatives from Superior Grocers, one of the companies donating to the drive, were on hand to assist students with the selection process. The end result was a lot of smiles and students who are ready for the school year.
“The Casey Elementary School community is very thankful for the generous donations,” Casey Elementary School Principal Emily Dominguez smiled. “Every student left school that day with a backpack full of supplies and a smile on their face. We received many positive comments from families expressing their appreciation.”
And when the students found “the one,” faces lit up. Then came another big smile as students inspected the inside of the backpacks and found notebooks, pencils, rulers, erasers and other school supplies.
“Our students were so excited to be able to go shopping for a brand new backpack. They were even more thrilled when they found out it had supplies inside,” Preston Elementary School Principal Monica Radcliffe-Perez replied. “All of our students felt so very special and the parents really appreciated the help with back-to-school needs.”
This year’s backpack drive marked the sixth and most successful giveaway in the program’s history. The grassroots effort began with Fiscal Services providing 50 backpacks in the first year of the giveaway. Today the program continues to grow thanks to the generosity of various donors and RUSD staff, which works tirelessly through the summer to make the first week of school full of joy for hundreds of students.
“We would not have been able to do this without the support of various organizations and their generous donations as well as District staff who volunteered their time to assemble the backpacks,” Albiso said.