There are nearly 270,000
homeless children in California
that live without
their basic material needs met.
That’s a problem.

California's Supply Bank
is a solution.

K to College has been featured on...

K to College media coverage

April 1, 2014

K to College is Building a Supply Bank

K to College is building a statewide supply bank, similar to a food bank, as a sustainable nonprofit solution to efficiently and systematically provide basic material needs assistance to all homeless and other under-resourced kids. This collaborative project involves manufacturers, several public agencies, corporate partners and more than 200 school districts and county offices of education.

Children Go Without Basic Material Needs Met

During the 2012-2013 school year, nearly 270,000 children and youth enrolled in California public schools were identified as homeless according to the California Department of Education (CDE). Based on academic research, a survey of more than 200 school district homeless liaisons and our own experiences with school districts that represent more than 90% of this population, we can conclude that the basic material needs of these children and youth are largely unmet. These are kids attending school without school supplies, clean clothes, the ability to brush their teeth and other symptoms of basic material needs going unmet.

While there are several actions needed to alleviate the many hardships faced by homeless children, the lack or absence of basic material needs assistance, which additionally impacts other impoverished kids, reflects the overwhelming need for one piece of the puzzle. Not discrediting the numerous community supply drives and like-minded efforts throughout California and the United States each year, they are in large part isolated to one particular community and thus lack scalability. Additionally, nearly all of these efforts do not coordinate with school districts, which are the only entities that can systematically distribute to those children and youth most in need.

The Need to Build a Statewide Supply Bank and How It Reaches Kids Throughout the State

What is needed for California to meet the basic material needs of children and youth is a statewide supply bank, similar to a food bank, which can efficiently and systematically provide assistance to all homeless and other under-resourced kids by working with local school districts and county offices of education. Food Banks were created to serve as a centralized distribution hub that could achieve economies of scale and simplify the process for farmers, government agencies and other parties to fight hunger, while also sending food to organizations on the front lines of hunger such as soup kitchens, shelters, churches and other organizations.

K to College’s supply bank will serve as the central distribution hub, with school districts and domestic violence shelters serving as front line organizations that systematically distribute to kids most in-need. Moving in this direction, K to College has partnered with more than 200 school districts and county offices of education establishing the statewide structure to systematically provide every homeless child with basic material needs assistance.

As required by the U.S. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, each school district designates at least one McKinney-Vento (homeless) liaison. Often the point person(s) for our program coordination and planning, each liaison identifies homeless children enrolled in their district and is responsible for distributing goods, referring services and other support measures. To identify preschool-aged children we work with County First 5 Commissions, who can identify the best programs and/or shelters. Although eligible, children and youth residing in domestic violence shelters are not identified through the McKinney-Vento law, as their privacy is critical. Therefore, K to College partners with these shelters directly for distribution to the kids residing in their facilities.

Moving Forward

Preparing to distribute resources to several tens of thousands of kids in more than 200 school districts this coming year, K to College is continuing to develop additional partnerships to make this vision a reality – benefiting all under-resourced children and youth in California.

We invite you to sign up for our newsletter below and explore our site to learn how you can join this very worthwhile effort.

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March 20, 2014

KTVU Surprises K to College with $10,000 from Chicken of the Sea

Chicken of the Sea presents a check for $10,000 to K to College

OAKLAND, California- K to College Executive Director Benito Delgado-Olson visited the set of KTVU’s Bay Area People for an interview about K to College’s efforts to provide homeless children with basic material needs. On set, Benito Delgado-Olson sat with KTVU’s Lisa Yokota and explained K to College’s growth from a student group at UC Berkeley to the largest charitable school and dental supply program in the state. Benito was then joined by Chicken of the Sea’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Christie Fleming, who surprised him with a $10,000 check!

Chicken of the Sea’s nationwide Mermaid Pay It Forward movement will give $10,000 to 100 public service-minded nonprofits and individuals across the nation as part of their “Great American Gratitude Tour”. The San Diego-based company is celebrating 100 years in business by investing $1 million in worthy causes to assist and promote community development.

On behalf of K to College, thank you Chicken of the Sea! Your support is greatly appreciated!

March 12, 2014

K to College Presents to California Select Committee on Homelessness

SACRAMENTO, California – California State Assembly Speaker-Elect Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) convened a hearing of the Select Committee on Homelessness to identify the challenges and needs of homeless students in California’s public education system. The hearing focused on students identified as homeless in public schools pursuant to the United States McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

K to College Executive Director Benito Delgado-Olson presented as part of a panel on the role of community benefit organizations in assisting this population. His presentation focused on the material needs of homeless children and youth across the state and the unique position K to College is in to build a statewide supply bank to alleviate this need efficiently and systematically. K to College’s presentation also included responses from a survey of more than 200 homeless liaisons across the state, identifying specific challenges and impacts a lack of basic material needs has on local homeless youth.

The hearing also included powerful testimonies from formerly homeless students, several state and local education administrators who oversee the McKinney-Vento population, a representative from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Office, and other stakeholders from higher education. Several homeless liaisons from throughout the state also testified, providing insight on the role of homeless education liaisons in identifying, tracking, and serving homeless students. Melissa Schoonmaker, the Homeless Education Consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, presented on the unique challenges homeless students and their families face, particularly the impact of homelessness on physical health, mental health, and education. Additionally, Debra Sanders from the Sonoma County Office of Education and Karen Alexander from the San Diego County Office of Education testified at the hearing.

The bipartisan Assembly Select Committee on Homelessness was created in 2011 to determine the scope and impact of homelessness in California, and to recommend policies to address and end homelessness. Members include Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), Richard Bloom, (D-LA), Rocky Chávez (R-San Diego), Ken Cooley (D-Sacramento), Matthew Dababneh (D-LA), Paul Fong (D-San Jose), Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Long Beach), and Mariko Yamada (D-Sacramento).

March 5, 2014

Kaiser Permanente Features Support of K to College at Cal Basketball Game

Kaiser Permanente representatives present a $10,000 check to K to College

BERKELEY, California – As part of a statewide partnership with Kaiser Permanente, K to College was featured during the Cal vs. Utah Basketball game at the Haas Pavilion on the UC Berkeley Campus. Kaiser Permanente has partnered with K to College to raise awareness of the nonprofit's effort to provide all low-income students in California with the materials they need to be successful. K to College promotions were displayed on electronic billboards and several videos were shown during the game. The organization also received the official game ball and was awarded a $10,000 check on the court from Kaiser. K to College Board Chair Don Solem was interviewed by ABC’s local radio station KGO, where he highlighted the nonprofits close ties to the University and commitment to serving the community.

K to College hosted an Appreciation Reception prior to the game at the Alumni House to acknowledge local supporters, volunteers and corporate partners.

February 24, 2014

Comcast SportsNet Highlights Distribution of School Supplies to San Francisco Kids

Children at Hillcrest Elementary School

SAN FRANCISCO, California – As part of their ongoing statewide partnership with Kaiser Permanente and Target Inc., K to College provided all students at Hillcrest Elementary School in San Francisco with tote bags full of school and dental supplies. Each kit was valued at $65. Guests included San Francisco Superintendent Richard Carranza, who engaged with students in a Q&A session, during which he described his own path from public schools to college and eventually as Superintendent.

Rounding off an awareness campaign sponsored by Target and Kaiser Permanente, Comcast SportsNet brought a camera crew and sports reporter Fallon Smith, who spoke to students about the importance of education and its role in the sports world. This was the final distribution of school supplies to more than 30 schools in San Francisco for the 2013-2014 school year. This year’s distribution in San Francisco provided more than 12,000 students with these critical materials.

February 20, 2014

Number of Homeless Children & Youth in California Increases to Nearly 270,000

Map of homelessness in California

During the 2012-2013 school year, nearly 270,000 children and youth were identified as homeless according to data recently released by the California Department of Education (CDE).

The 269,663 homeless students enrolled in California K-12 schools for the 2012-2013 school year is the highest number on record, and an eight percent increase over the previous school year. The CDE identifies homeless students according to the United States McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (the Act). A federal law intended to ensure immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth, the Act includes all circumstances in the Housing and Urban Development definition, but also includes families who are “doubled up.” Examples of this include but are not limited to those living in a garage, multiple families living in one apartment, and “couch surfing”. Even with the extended population included in the McKinney-Vento count, experts in the field believe the number of homeless children in California is undercounted.

In relation to the country, California has the largest numbers of homeless students, followed by New York, Texas, and Florida. Thirty-four counties reported school year-to-year increases in the number of homeless students, with ten counties reporting increases of twenty percent or more. Counties with the largest increases were Santa Clara (78%), San Mateo (33%), and Sacramento (28%). Los Angeles County continues to have the greatest concentration of homeless children (more than 60,000), followed by San Bernardino (more than 33,000), Orange (more than 33,000), and Riverside (more than 22,000).

November 7, 2013

Huawei Expands K to College Partnership to Equip Santa Clara Students for Success

Students at George Mayne Elementary School
Another 5,800 Homeless Northern California Students to Receive Dental Kits

SANTA CLARA, California – At an event held with 532 students at George Mayne Elementary School in Santa Clara today, Huawei announced the expansion of its partnership with nonprofit K to College to deliver dental kits to 5,800 homeless children across four Northern California counties. Acknowledging the need for assistance in the community, Huawei increased its commitment in providing students with the important tools they need to achieve educational success by giving them school supplies and dental kits.

K to College operates the largest free school and dental supply program for underprivileged students in California. With Huawei’s assistance, they will provide dental kits to homeless children in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and San Mateo counties.

“Children from all backgrounds and walks of life deserve a chance to succeed,” said Naveen Dhar, head of Huawei’s Center for Innovation in Santa Clara. “All of us at Huawei believe that education is a necessary foundation for future success.”

More than 70 percent of students at George Mayne Elementary School participated in the free/reduced price meals program in the 2011-2012 school year. Local school children need the assistance provided by organizations like K to College in order to ensure their success in school. Statewide, unemployment rose to 8.9 percent, indicating that California families need assistance.

“During my career as a teacher, principal and school board member, I saw first-hand the impact that inequity in education can have on students and their ability to thrive. This public-private partnership between Huawei and K to College will help to ensure that students at George Mayne Elementary will have expanded access to instructional materials,” said Congressman Mike Honda (D-Calif.). “Investments in our public schools are important to our nation’s future, as today’s students learn the critical thinking and technical skills they will need as tomorrow’s workforce.”

“These supplies do more than fill backpacks,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, whose district includes George Mayne Elementary. “They provide confidence, excitement for learning and convey the important message that the community cares. I applaud Huawei and K to College’s effort to provide all our students with the materials they need to achieve.”

About Huawei: Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Through our dedication to customer-centric innovation and strong partnerships, we have established end-to-end advantages in telecom networks, devices and cloud computing. We are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers by providing competitive solutions and services. Our products and solutions have been deployed in over 140 countries, serving more than one third of the world’s population. For more information, visit Huawei online:

About K to College: K to College, founded in 2008 by a group of UC Berkeley students and alumni, is a non-profit public benefit corporation whose school supply and dental kit initiatives are the largest efforts of their kind in the United States, providing essential resources to tens of thousands of students. Since 2010, K to College has distributed more than $14,500,000 of grade-appropriate school and dental supply kits to more than 230,000 students in more than 100 California school districts. In an effort to target public school students enrolled in the subsidized lunch program, K to College partners directly with school districts to help mass distribute supplies and reach those most in need.

11-06-2013 Press Release

November 4, 2013

A Solution to the Problem of 250,000 California Homeless School Kids Going Without Supplies

map of california

Officially recognized by Congress on July 11, 2007, November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. Nowhere is this awareness needed more than in California.

According to the most recently available data from the California Department of Education, there are approximately 250,000 pre-K to 12th grade homeless school-aged children in our state, as defined the U.S. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Los Angeles County alone has more than 60,000 homeless children, a total greater than every other state except for Texas, and just barely. Homeless children are not limited to our urban cores, as there are more than 10,000 in California’s rural counties to the north, more than 50,000 in the Inland Empire, and thousands more in the Central Valley.

Homeless children and youth are without question the most under-resourced demographic within our public schools. That is why in collaboration with more than 200 school districts and county offices of education, we have built a statewide effort to systematically provide every homeless child with the comprehensive school, dental and hygienic supplies they need to achieve.

As required by the U.S. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, each school district designates at least one McKinney-Vento (homeless) liaison. Each liaison identifies the homeless students in their district and is responsible for distributing goods and providing services. K to College partners directly with these homeless liaisons to ensure that basic materials reach the children most in need. To identify preschool-aged children we work with County First 5 Commissions, who can identify the best programs and/or shelters.

Utilizing this structure to distribute materials to tens of thousands of homeless children throughout the state, we are continuing to work with all stakeholders to build an efficient, sustainable, and scalable system to provide these and other basic life needs materials.


Working towards this goal, in addition to partnering with school districts and county First 5 commissions throughout the state, we have successfully sponsored two pieces of legislation to build this system. The first, Senate Bill 608, authored by Senator Mark DeSaulnier and coauthored by Senator Loni Hancock, changed the state penal code to enable inmates enrolled in the California Prison Industry Authority to assemble our school supply kits as part of a larger, successful rehabilitation program.

The second was Senate Bill 1571. Also authored by Senator DeSaulnier and coauthored by Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner, Fiona Ma, and Jared Huffman, Senate Bill 1571 established the School Supplies for Homeless Children Fund, which allows taxpayers to designate contributions to the Fund on their personal state income tax returns.

It is the collective goal of our growing coalition of school districts, county offices of education, state associations, corporate partners and others to form a nonprofit system that ensures homeless and other low-income children and youth have a lifeline of support for basic material needs.

We will provide an additional update on our progress in early February of 2014. If you have any questions, please contact us.