Stanislaus County Office of Education Helping Kids in Need with Annual Backpack Drive

Contacts:       Kym Barber, Event Planning Specialist, (209) 238-1510
                        Ken Fitzgerald, Director, Prevention Programs, 238-1381
                       Judy Boring, Communications Coordinator, 238-1709
                       Cynthia Fenech, Communications Coordinator, 238-1704

The start of a new school year is an exciting time for most children, but for homeless children, this is a time open to emotional and academic challenges. Without even the most basic supplies, these students start at a disadvantage that only gets worse as the school year progresses. The Stanislaus County Office of Education aims to provide local homeless and at-risk youth with new backpacks and school supplies – tools they need to achieve academic success. The Operation Backpack Drive, in collaboration with Volunteers of America, is slated for July 13 – 31.  School supplies and backpacks can be dropped off at any of the following locations:

  • Stanislaus County Office of Education – 1100 H Street, Modesto
  • Alfred Matthews Cadillac GMC Buick – 3807 McHenry Ave. Modesto
  • Mocse Credit Union – 1400 J Street, Modesto
  • Mocse Credit Union – 3600 Coffee Road, Modesto
  • Mocse Credit Union – 1401 Geer Road, Turlock
  • Prime Shine Car Wash - 12 locations in Stanislaus County:  Modesto (5), Ceres (2), Turlock (2), Oakdale (1), Riverbank (1), and Patterson (1) 
  • Sutter Gould Medical Foundation – 600 Coffee Road, Modesto, Information Desk


According to Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon, “SCOE is receiving wonderful support from local businesses and organizations like; Alfred Matthews Buick GMC Cadillac, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation, and Mocse Credit Union.” This year SCOE hopes to serve as many of the 6,500 homeless children living in Stanislaus County as possible.  Filled backpacks are distributed to children in schools via school district homeless liaisons.

“Operation Backpack enables us to distribute backpacks to kids who wouldn’t have them otherwise and for us that’s huge,” said Changnon. “We invite the community to support the homeless and low-income children and their families by bringing new backpacks filled with school supplies to one of the drop-off locations throughout Modesto.”  Additional information including a full listing of all drop-off locations, how to volunteer, and the option to give online, is available at  

Homeless children face a wide variety of challenges and long-lasting issues that are profoundly detrimental to their development and ability to learn, ultimately affecting their success in life. According to The National Center on Family Homelessness, homeless children are eight times more likely to be asked to repeat a grade; three times as likely to be placed in special education classes; and twice as likely to score lower on standardized tests. Operation Backpack seeks to provide some sense of normalcy and remove one obstacle from homeless students’ lives. With a new backpack and new school supplies, students get to feel more like “regular kids” and can start the school year on more even footing.

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