Back to School Clothing Drive Adapts to COVID Challenges: Drive-By Distributions, Direct Delivery to Schools
By Lisa Padilla -
Friday Jul 17, 2020
COVID-19 may have dramatically changed our lives, but it didnâ€™t change the fact that elementary school children at Title 1 schools in Maricopa County need uniforms, backpacks, supplies and clothes.
â€œWe will fulfill our promise to provide school clothing, uniforms, backpacks, school supplies and other essential items for elementary school-aged students, their families and schools, even with the challenges COVID-19 has presented,â€ said Back to School Clothing Drive (BTSCD) Executive Director Karl Gentles. â€œYes, weâ€™ve had to adapt to the virus like everyone else while still being able to provide these essential needs to between 3,500 and 4,000 children. Even with a drop in fund-raising support during this very difficult time, we are committed to our mission and to the children.â€
Gentles said that BTSCD, Arizonaâ€™s largest provider of uniforms, backpacks and supplies, has converted from its annual on-site distribution to 5,000 Title 1 students at Grand Canyon University to:
â€¢ a drive-by distribution event serving 1,000 Luke Air Force Base families on July 23 in a collaboration with Fighter Country Partnership and the BHHS Legacy Foundation;
â€¢ delivering requested supplies for 2,000 students to specific Title 1 schools in Maricopa County;
â€¢ delivering supplies to 600 children in foster care in partnership with Arizona Helping Hands;
â€¢ delivering supplies for 400 children who may be homeless or in transition through Childrenâ€™s First Academy and Sequoia Choice Charter School in Mesa.
Families at Luke Air Force Base and families whose children attend Title 1 and other participating schools had to pre-register for Back to School Clothing Drive support.
â€œThroughout the rest of the year, we will continue providing support to other schools and districts through direct delivery of supplies,â€ Gentles said, adding that â€œwe are still in need of both financial support and donations of supplies which can be done onlineâ€ at https://www.backtoschoolclothingdrive.com.
Sponsors who have made significant cash and in-kind sponsorship support for the current year include BHHS Legacy Foundation, Bank of America, Arizonaâ€™s Family 3TV and CBS5, Arizona Community Foundation, Charles Schwab, Discover Financial, Fiesta Bowl Charities, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and Wells Fargo Bank. Bank of America, a long-time BTSCD partner, added a second cash sponsorship to underwrite the cost of this yearâ€™s school supplies since the bank could not host its annual company-wide employee supply drive.
Founded in 1967, Back to School Clothing Drive is Arizonaâ€™s largest provider of new school outfits, uniforms, backpacks and school supplies to children in need. Back-to-School Clothing Drive provides new school outfits and uniforms, backpacks and school supplies to more than 25,000 K-6 students at more than 260 schools in 40 Maricopa County school districts. Back to School Clothing Drive operates on an annual budget of approximately $1 million with three employees, a 15-member volunteer board of directors and more than 2,500 volunteers. For more information, visit http://www.backtoschoolclothingdrive.com.