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Local student's backpack drive returns for the third year

Dec 12, 2023Dec 12, 2023

For the third year, a local student is raising money and collecting backpacks to donate ahead of the start of school this fall.

Kalia Roper, a freshman at the Bishop's School and graduate of St. James Academy, started the initiative several years ago when she was on crutches and needed a backpack. After finding eight old ones in her attic, she decided to start something to distribute backpacks and other school supplies to students in need.

After raising more than $4,000 over the first two years, Kalia said her goal this year is to hit $2,000. Donations of backpacks and other school supplies are also accepted.

The goal this year is to continue collecting as many backpacks as possible and getting the community involved.

"This year we have a bunch of new locations where we’re going to be dropping the backpacks off," Kalia said. "So that's also a goal, to make sure they’re happy and we get the backpacks to them."

So far, she said people have contributed about 140 to 150 backpacks.

"A bunch of the principals and the students and their parents come up to me and say how nice it's been and how it's good to have someone giving back to the community," Kalia said. "They’re really motivating me to keep going."

Several local organizations in Solana Beach have also participated in the Backpack Giveback, including Staples, Geppetto's and the Solana Beach Library. Beneficiaries of the backpack drive have included the Emilio Nares Foundation, which helps low-income families meet their basic needs, and Father Joe's Villages, which provides assistance to local residents who are experiencing homelessness.

When it first started, Kalia said she envisioned it becoming an annual event. According to the Backpack Giveback website, collection boxes this year are available at schools including Earl Warren, Skyline, Solana Vista, Solana Highlands, Solana Pacific, Solana Santa Fe, Carmel Creek and Solana Ranch.

"Solana Beach Backpacks for Kids Inc. believes that no child in Solana Beach School District should go hungry or should have food insecurities, especially on weekends when kids do not have access to school-sponsored breakfasts, snacks and lunches," the Backpack Giveback website says. "Solana Beach Backpacks for Kids helps bridge the gap between Friday lunch and Monday breakfast for public school children by providing backpacks filled with easy to prepare, non-perishable food and snacks each week ensuring that every child can eat on the weekends."

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