Students and teachers had big smiles on their faces as they perused boxes of supplies at Hollister School District sites last week.
That’s because they were picking from donated supplies ranging from backpacks and binders to calculators and pencils. The Hollister School District recently received generous donations of school supplies—from Target stores in Hollister and Watsonville—and distributed the items to students and teachers.
R.O. Hardin Elementary School Principal Lilia Espinoza accompanied staff members Sept. 15 as they bagged up allotted supplies for distribution the following day. She underscored the variety of available items while holding packaged Elmer’s glue sticks.
“What I love about it is, it’s quality materials to count on for when we say, ‘Here’s a project for home.’ It’s done. We know they have the materials to do it,” Espinoza said.
She said some students’ families can afford such school supplies and others can’t. She noted how many of her school’s parents are agriculture workers.
“We try to provide items, or we limit what we ask them to do,” Espinoza said. “Opportunities like this help us so that we don’t have to ask them or to provide supplies.”
She listed off folders, notebooks, pencils, glue and scissors as examples of donated items at her site. Some schools such as R.O. Hardin organized their items in age-appropriate bags, while others put out the items on tables or in boxes for choosing.
“It’s been a real treat,” the R.O. Hardin principal said. “It’s Christmas in September.”
The Watsonville Target supplies went to students at R.O. Hardin, Calaveras, Maze, Rancho San Justo and Sunnyslope schools. The Hollister Target followed up by donating supplies to Rancho Santana School as well.
At Sunnyslope Elementary School on Sept. 15, students picked out their desired supplies at the end of the school day, while new teachers followed up by choosing their items shortly thereafter.
Fifth-grade teacher Julie Fontaine noted how teachers often buy supplies out of their own pockets to help students whose families don’t have enough money to afford them.
“Most people spend a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars every year on their students because there is not a lot of money and a lot of students can’t afford to buy their own,” she said. “We have a lot of new teachers here who haven’t built up resources yet, so this is fantastic.”
Patrisia Martinez, the district’s Coordinator of Migrant Programs and Community Schools Coordinator who helped to spearhead the efforts, said the district wanted to make sure students could pick items they need and like. The supplies at most sites were available for one hour, while remaining items will stay at respective schools for when they’re needed, she said.
The Hollister School District would like to sincerely thank Target for these generous donations and the district encourages other companies to partner in such efforts as well.