SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA — With pallets lining the perimeter of the ornate Memorial Auditorium, assembly lines stretching down the floor and hundreds of boxes stacked for the thousands of school supply and dental kits that will fill them, preparations were complete for the 500 volunteers that attended K to College’s California Volunteer Event—one of the largest volunteer events in Sacramento history. Prioritizing homeless children identified in public schools, K to College assembled 10,000 school supply kits and dental kits for children throughout Northern California. Modeling the business model of food banks, K to College says the effort is one example of how its “supply bank” model can solve the unmet basic material needs of low-income kids in California.
This is a point not lost on Assemblymember Jim Frazier, who first encountered K to College long before his career in Sacramento as one of K to College’s original volunteers in 2010. “When I first volunteered with K to College at a warehouse in Martinez, I quickly realized they had a unique ability to engage both the public sector and business community to solve a problem impoverished children confront throughout the state,” said Frazier, whose district has seen an increase in the number of homeless children identified in public schools. “That is why I have prioritized working with K to College to scale and replicate their ability to provide basic material needs assistance to homeless and other low-income kids throughout my district and the state.”
Echoing the sentiments of the Assemblyman is Mike Hannigan, President of Give Something Back Office Supplies, California’s largest independent office supply company and a founding partner of K to College. “This program is an excellent example of how government, the non-profit and for-profit sectors can collaborate to solve social problems,” said Hannigan. “From day one we have partnered with K to College because this program fits perfectly into our business model of giving back, but more importantly follows the approach of food banks, which has been very successful.”
The increased awareness of the unmet material needs of homeless and other low-income kids, coupled with the season of giving back to those in need, is what K to College says inspires such great volunteerism. “It’s amazing to see all the walks of life our volunteers come from,” said Don Solem, Board Chairman of K to College. “The broadness of volunteers reflects an equally broad interest amongst the public to confront and solve the issue of homeless children’s unmet material needs. This is one of the biggest events of its kind in Sacramento history.”
The statewide effort is also timely, as a recent report released by The National Center on Family Homelessness cited California as having 526,708 homeless children and a lack of infrastructure to address the varying needs of the population. In 2015, K to College plans to host similar events in San Diego, the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Berkeley. In total they expect more than 3,000 volunteers to participate. In addition to Give Something Back Office Supplies, supporters of tomorrow’s event include Kaiser Permanente, Target, Huawei Technologies, the California Teachers Association and others.