Holy Family, Half Moon Bay takes the lead on Coastside Annual Backpack Drive

Posted on August 14, 2018

Holy Family, Half Moon Bay has coordinated the Coastside Annual Backpack Drive for nearly fifteen years, bringing together many community organizations, businesses, and individuals to provide new backpacks filled with new school supplies for area students identified for this assistance by the Cabrillo School District. This year’s drive was completed Saturday, August 10, 2018, with the assembly and distribution of nearly 400 backpacks full of supplies for local students.

Ken Myers, a long-time member of Holy Family, served as coordinator of this year’s drive, and led efforts to raise funds to help provide students with packs of which they could be proud, and supplies to help them start the new school year off with essentials all students need to succeed. Ken’s work is a lesson in stewardship of resources, stretching donations to provide the high quantity and best quality possible. His diligence and coordination allows us to honor the time given by our many volunteers, and honor the generosity of the community in sharing resources. 

The drive begins in earnest in late spring, with fundraising at the local farmers’ market, with a booth on weekends at the local Safeway, and with fundraising appeals. Partners include the local school district Abundant Grace Coastside Worker (formerly “Coastside Catholic Worker”), Rotary, the San Mateo County Libraries, the Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Lutherans, the Coastside Women’s Club, all of whom provide numerous volunteers and funds.  The project culminates in distribution weekend, where volunteers move supplies from Holy Family’s “outreach barn” to the local United Methodist Church, where the distribution to students occurs. Much unpacking and sorting ensues, followed by the well-refined liturgy of the “stuffing of the backpacks”, not to exclude the sharing of donuts and coffee!  A station for gently used books (donated by community members) and new books donated by the Library are offered for students select. Younger children are provided with coloring sheets and crayons to keep them occupied as they begin lining up early on distribution day with their older siblings and parents.  At each stage of the distribution, students of all ages are allowed to pick their own packs, supplies, and reading books.

Outreach at Holy Family is an important part of our active love for God and our neighbors. In addition to partnerships with other agencies and churches, we provide a monthly food distribution, with fresh produce and non-perishable items, usually serving between 130-150 people. A mission (and a mighty mission at that!) of the Diocese of California, Holy Family partners with Good Shepherd, Belmont, for a shared ministry. We welcome opportunities to partner with our sibling Episcopalians and invite others in the Diocese to stop by the southernmost coastal church in the diocese to pray and serve with us.