Backpacks filled with supplies

Auburn, CA – Going back to school can be an exciting but also stressful time for families who can’t afford new school supplies. Thanks to generous donations from Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital employees, nearly 100 local children received new backpacks filled with supplies for the start of a new school year as part of Operation Backpack.

Operation Backpack is a yearly campaign organized by the Volunteers of America in partnership with Sutter Health that delivers backpacks, collected for students from pre-kindergarten through 12 graders, to homeless and at-risk children in the region.

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Employees at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital joined together with Sutter Health employees from Yuba to Merced counties to donate more than 1,870 backpacks filled with school supplies for local students in need.

Sutter Auburn Faith Employees

“There’s nothing more exciting for a child than a new backpack and supplies to start the school year, but the cost of preparing a whole family for school can be overwhelming,” said Tommy Trejo, external affairs at Sutter Health. “Sutter Health wanted to help these families by supplying backpacks to help these students have confidence and be successful in school.”

Recognizing that thousands of children return to school without much needed supplies, the Volunteers of America partnered with agencies and school districts to ensure as many children as possible get the tools they need for the start of school.

“This program is important because every child deserves to start school feeling amazing about themselves,” said Jennifer Scalzi, who has volunteered with Operation Backpack for the last eight years. “Operation Backpack gives these kids hope.”

“Sutter Health locations did an incredible job again this year with almost 2,000 backpacks collected,” said Ana Bankert, development officer at Volunteers of America. “We cannot be more grateful for Sutter Health’s support.”

“Each year, at-risk children in our local communities return to school without basic supplies,” said Mitch Hanna, CEO at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital. “We want to do everything that we can so these students can enter the classroom with everything they need for the new school year.”

Backpacks filled with pens, paper, scissors and other essential supplies poured into collection bins at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital for two weeks in July. This is the eighth year that Sutter Health employees in Northern California have participated in Operation Backpack, and in 2017, the organization donated more than 1,400 backpacks and helped 10,000 students as part of the campaign.

“As a not-for-profit integrated health system, we are continuously looking for different ways we can give back to our communities,” said Hanna. “We hope these backpacks and school supplies will help boost students’ self-esteem, help them learn and thrive in school and build a bright future.”

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