by Cheryl Senn
Six hundred plus backpacks were handed out to Sanger Unified School District (SUSD) students at the third annual Sanger Back to School Pool Party and more than 700 people attended the event. The theme for this year’s party was “We Got Your Back 2013.”
Instead of holding two or more events to distribute backpacks and schools supplies, this year the City of Sanger, Christians Using Baseball to Serve (C.U.B.S.) Ministries, Higher Calling Productions, and 15 other organizations partnered to create one giant Back To School Pool Party for Sanger students, ages 5-18. Families began lining up early to beat the heat and to be able to receive a free backpack, school supplies, groceries, haircuts and a hot dog lunch. Students and their families also had the opportunity to enjoy the Apache Aquatic Complex for free, for three hours in the afternoon after the school supply giveaway. Informational booths with games and prizes lined the interior of the Sanger Community Center. Students and families picked up information along with their school supplies.
Live music performances by local recording artist Heather Layne, and others, occurred during the free swim time and were sponsored by Higher Calling Productions. City of Sanger Interim Parks and Recreation Specialist Daniel Galvez said, “I think today was an amazing. We had tons of people come out.”
Jeff Woo, founder of CUBS Ministries, thought the turnout was wonderful. “It’s exciting to see the kids line up, excited to receive the necessary tools to start the new school year.”
“It’s terrific how all the groups came together for the kids in Sanger,” said Galvez. “All the groups came out to have a good time and to help kids get ready for back to school.”
Sanger parent, Erica Rivas said, “It’s cool the community came together.”
Angie Perez, a grandmother, who attended the event with her two grandsons, said, “It’s nice and it helps the kids,” as she and her grandsons visited all the informational tables inside the Sanger Community Center.
Marissa Gonzalez said she did not attend the back to school giveaway last year because she did not need the help, but this year it is different. Gonzalez recently lost her job and would not be able to provide school supplies for her children. “I think it was great for the younger kids, and it’s helped me a lot this year.”
Sanger City Manager, Brian Haddix, maintained the event provided a window into the heart of Sanger: “We are a giving and generous community.”
After receiving the school supplies, families were able to pick up free groceries. The grocery bags were pre-packed with fresh produce, such as melons and strawberries, rice, cereal, bread, chips and granola bars. The free haircuts for both boys and girls were donated by local stylists. Sanger Fire Chief Greg Tarascou barbecued approximately 1,000 hot dogs for the free lunch. The Sanger Boys and Girls Club provided games for the students and the Sanger Seals handed out free popsicles.
Woo said the CUBS Ministry’s motto is: “The betterment of others and our community.” We showed God’s love with loving on the kids and the community of Sanger, not as one organization, but as a community.” With the backpack and school supply giveaway, Woo felt people’s lives would be touched in a way which will have a lasting impact on them.
Galvez said the event showed: “When people come together, it’s always better,” which described how the City and other organizations worked together this year, instead of having their own separate giveaways. Galvez thanked everybody in the community who participated.
Planning meetings have already taken place on making the annual backpack and school supply giveaway bigger and better next year.
Watch KRL for more Sanger related articles by Cheryl!