July 30th, 2019 marked Tzu Chi’s third annual Back-to-School Kick-Off and food pantry distribution events for low-income students and families in Alhambra, California.
According to a 2019 report from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a total of 58,936 people are currently homeless in Los Angeles County alone – many of them children. To combat this crisis, the Alhambra Unified School District and dedicated community partners joined hands with us to assist students and families who face homelessness and housing instability through our third annual Back-to-School event.
Helping families Thrive
We held our “Back-to-School Kick-Off” and food pantry at Alhambra High School, where we were honored to hear speeches from figures such as AUSD Board President, Robert L. Gin, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Alhambra Mayor Adele Andrade-Stadler, County of Los Angeles Field Deputy Jimmy Wu, and Debra Boudreaux, Executive Vice President of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation.
The event benefited 282 low-income households. A total of 129 Tzu Chi volunteers joined hands to provide an array of foods, 185 items of clothing, 438 backpacks, 101 pairs of brand new shoes, 409 cash cards, 11 haircuts, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of hope.
It Takes a Community Effort
In a district where the majority of students learn English as a second language, and 70% of students receive free or reduced-fee lunches, AUSD is keenly aware of their students’ individual needs. Thus, seeking to strengthen their community and support both the physical and mental well-being of their children, the AUSD Gateway to Success HOPE program was initiated to provide such services and resources for at-risk families.
Indeed, it takes all of us working together to help our children not only survive, but flourish. The future of a community is foretold by how it treats its most vulnerable individuals, and through collaborative efforts, we’re each helping to make the future a brighter place for everyone.