by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News
HOUSTON, TX — It’s that time again for parents and children to start preparing for another school year. And some kababayans recently took part in a program that makes sure struggling families are getting the help they need.
Recently, officers and members of the La Rosa Family Services held their annual back-to-school drive. La Rosa — spearheaded by Filipino Nelvin Adriato — is a local nonprofit group that assists families and victims of domestic violence and abuse.
Backpacks, uniforms, immunizations, and basic school supplies were donated by a number of corporations and organizations in Houston.
“I’m with the alliance for multi-cultural community services and we support the newcomers to Houston we take refugees and immigrants and their participation here makes them feel like they’re part of a larger community,” said sponsor/volunteer Daniel Stoeker. “They see their welcome just like everybody else and it makes such a difference.”
According to Kids Count Data Center, over 25% of children 17 and under live below the poverty level in Harris County — making it difficult and in some cases impossible to buy new school supplies, which can cost up to $250 each school year according to a YMCA press release.
School officials say that is not only disheartening to the parent, but to the child as well. The La Rosa back to school event wants to make sure all children have the tools they need to do well in school.
Hundreds of volunteers have worked the program, which has been held annually for the past nine years — making it one of the biggest school drives in Houston. 7000 backpacks full of school supplies have been prepared and are all lined up awaiting to be claimed by these eager students.”
7,000 backpacks full of school supplies have been prepared and are all lined up awaiting to be claimed by these eager students.
“We love doing this because we help all the needy kids and the families. And it’s not only the backpacks, we have health fairs, we have vision screening so it’s really a great benefit for the kids,” said Mminette Sardea-Chiu, Royal Oaks Lions club president/event sponsor.
Most of the families served by the La Rosa family services have an annual household income of $12,000 or less. Some have experienced homelessness, domestic violence, and mental health issues.
School officials say because of lack of supplies and their day to day hardships — these children tend to stay home instead of going to school.
These community organizers and elected officials hope to change all that.