LAS VEGAS (AP) — The CASA Foundation held a back-to-school drive-thru to help 800 foster kids on Sunday. It comes at a time when donations are needed more than ever.
This 9th annual event was different this year, due to COVID-19.
Families had to register in advance of the event. Once they arrived they were given a paper with the ages of their children listed and volunteers selected items appropriate for each age group.
Many of the kids were excited to get new backpacks. They were able to choose which one they wanted from inside their cars.
Each backpack came filled with notebooks, folders, pencils, and other supplies. Kids were also given a plush toy, headphones, food, and hand sanitizer.
“It helps out financially. There’s a lot of costs with kids going to school; pictures, yearbooks, supplies, school clothes that they grow out of every two weeks. So just having something is a benefit,” said Teddy Gibbs, a local mother.
In the end, over 600 backpacks were given out, the rest will be given out next week to the families that were not able to attend.
The Executive Director for CASA Kimberly Coats said that donations are needed now more than ever, especially with this pandemic.
“It’s tough out there. We know it’s tough for individuals and families and businesses but the need never goes away,” Coats said. “We have over 3,000 foster kids in care in Clark County. That doesn’t change and we need to make sure that we’re able to give, so we need those donations. We wish we could do more but at least we’re still meeting needs that need to be met, it’s just COVID-19 style.”
Other organizations and nonprofits agree, like Project 150, which also provides clothes and school supplies to students struggling with homelessness.
“It kind of fluctuates. Some days are really great and the community comes together really strong and we get thousands of donations in terms of backpacks or school supplies. And then, when we’re in crisis mode and we need a specific item and we put the ask out there, those are a little bit more few and far between,” said Kelli Kristo, executive director for Project 150.
Both organizations say that even a small donation of money or school supplies can make a big difference.
If you are interested in donating to the CASA Foundation, you can direct your gift to programs like back-to-school, tutoring or to their general fund. Visit https://casafoundationlv.org/ for more information.
For Project 150, you can drop off supplies or clothes at 3600 N. Rancho Drive (Rancho and Gowan). Monetary donations can be made at www.project150.org
Volunteering your time is another great way to help out.