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Mayor London Breed Celebrates Success of Annual Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway

Over 3,500 backpacks and 5,000 planners and activity books were distributed to children and youth living in public and affordable housing sites across San Francisco

San Francisco, CA — Today, Mayor London N. Breed celebrated the successful completion of the City’s annual back-to-school backpack giveaway. Over the past two weeks, more than 3,500 backpacks filled with school supplies were distributed to children and youth living in San Francisco’s public and affordable housing sites to help them prepare for the 2021-2022 school year.

As part of the City’s efforts to ensure a safe return to in-person learning, the Department of Public Health (DPH) dispatched mobile vaccination teams to many of the giveaway events to provide COVID-19 vaccines for attendees ages 12 and older. The events also offered food, entertainment, and resources about health, wellness, employment, family support, and other social services in the neighborhood.

“This year’s giveaway is especially exciting as our students return to the classroom after a year of distance learning,” said Mayor Breed. “The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but no one has suffered more than our youth. These backpack giveaways provide our students with the materials they need for the new school year and are one way we can help ease financial burdens for our families. I want to thank all of the City departments and our community partners for all their hard work to ensure that our students are well prepared for the upcoming school year.”

Additionally, the Mayor’s Office partnered with the Department of Children, Youth and their Families (DCYF) and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC) to create and distribute more than 5,000 planners and activity books with enriching personal and educational development tools, activities, exercises and prompts.

“As our City’s children, youth and young people get ready to return to their classrooms and school communities, we can feel their back-to-school joy to return and be in-person again. The 2021-2022 academic calendar will be the third school year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maria Su, Executive Director, Department of Children, Youth and their Families. “It has been a long and challenging journey but we are deeply committed to supporting our students and families as they navigate this coming year. We believe in their brilliance and resiliency. San Francisco kids, shine your light, we see you.”

“It was such a joy to be a part of this distribution, to celebrate the strength, resilience and potential of our young people. Many of the youth were excited for the tools to track their goals and document their creativity,” said Sheryl Davis, Executive Director, San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

The Mayor’s Office, the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) and HOPE SF partnered with volunteers through non-profit organization TogetherSF to pack and distribute the backpacks and other educational materials to each site.

“TogetherSF is grateful to our volunteer community for always stepping up to help,” said Kanishka Cheng, Executive Director, TogetherSF. “They quickly filled the need to pack and distribute backpacks – and had a great time doing it! We are honored to be part of the Mayor’s Backpack Giveaway and look forward to continuing to support our community partners.”

"The Housing Authority of the City and County of San Francisco is honored to have assisted the City family to organize, deliver, and distribute backpacks to our families. Receiving a new backpack and school supplies is an exciting part of preparing for the upcoming school year and future years as our students successfully navigate each phase of their educational journey,” said Tonia Lediju, Chief Executive Officer, San Francisco Housing Authority.

Other City departments that provided resources at the backpack giveaway events were the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (RPD), and the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA).

San Francisco is home to thousands of students in need of financial support both inside and outside the classroom. Providing over 3,500 backpacks with school supplies tailored to each student’s grade responds to those needs while also connecting students and their families to resources that can help support academic achievement throughout the year.

Mayor Breed is committed to ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality education as San Francisco emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Breed worked closely with City departments throughout the pandemic to provide in-person support for distance learning and additional enrichment programming, prioritizing children and youth with the highest need. In addition, earlier this year, Mayor Breed signed the City budget for Fiscal Years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, which includes $15 million to address student learning loss and education recovery for San Francisco’s children and youth.