The Arizona Builders Alliance’s (ABA) 7th annual Backpack Supply Drive recently served a total of 500 underprivileged youth with help from more than 90 ABA member companies. The ABA’s 30-membered Community Service Board led the program, which provided foster children at RISE Services, Inc., and students of Children First Leadership Academy with backpacks and school supplies for a successful school year. Donated items were collected from July to August, and are valued at more than $25,000.
“Both of the organizations cater to the needs of homeless and impoverished children. Every year, their faces are shocked and excited when we arrive and start handing out backpacks,” said Joshua Marriott, Chairman of the ABA’s Community Service Board, and VDC engineer/estimator at McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. “From experience, school supplies can get very expensive – this drive is one way that the ABA is able to contribute to a portion of the organizations’ missions of helping children and families in need.”
The backpacks, each unique in theme, provided students with a fidget spinner, a pencil box filled with a variety of writing utensils, notebooks and paper, and organizational and craft supplies. Teachers were provided with cleaning supplies, toiletries and classroom items, and canned food and gently used clothes were also donated.
According to Kristina Gonzalez, recruiter for RISE’s Foster Care and Adoption program, some foster families care for more than five children. “The cost of supplies is not necessarily something that a child does or should worry about, so it may be more difficult for the children to understand the impact, but the foster parents we serve were thrilled and grateful for the support,” she said. The ABA became involved with RISE Services through foster parent, Tim Inman, LEED AP at Schuff Steel Management Company, and member of ABA’s Community Service Board.
“The drive alleviates families of the financial burden, and leaves teachers will a class full of students prepared for a successful year,” said Karen Crang, principal at Children First Leadership Academy. “Our students, staff and families are so appreciative of the continuous generosity and support from the ABA.”