4,500 Kids To Get Backpacks, School Supplies

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SAN FRANCISCO – The MAGIC Program’s Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway, the largest of its kind in San Francisco, will kick off the academic year Saturday, Aug. 14 by distributing 4,500 new backpacks stuffed with school supplies to kids and teens.

The BMAGIC event will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Bayview Opera House, 4705 3rd St. and the Mo’ MAGIC event at the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, 1050 McAllister Street, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. At the Ella Hill Hutch event, families must visit the health fair to receive backpacks.

Numerous elected officials will be on-hand, including State Senators Mark Leno and Leland Yee as well as Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. SFUSD Associate Superintendent of Bayview Schools Dr. Patricia Gray will also be present.

“School programs for kids in need have been decimated by budget cuts, making this event more important than ever,” said San Francisco Public Defender and MAGIC Founder Jeff Adachi. “Parents continue to struggle to provide the essentials for their kids in this tough economy.”

The MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway, now in its seventh year, also doubles as a resource, health and activity fair with free food, games, arts and crafts, music, sports and performances.

In preparation for Saturday’s event, more than 100 adults and youth will volunteer to stuff the 4,500 backpacks with pencils, notebooks, rulers, folders, crayons, and other age appropriate supplies.

“The need has never been greater for families, and fortunately, our sponsors and community supporters have stepped up to the plate to make this year’s event the best ever,” said BMAGIC Director Yvette Robles.

This year’s event was severely threatened by budget cuts before being saved by more dozens of MAGIC’s community partners pooling their resources.

“We decided that no matter what budgetary restraints we face, the event must go on,” Robles said. “A child who shows up on the first day of class without the necessary tools is physically at school, but isn’t present in the learning process.”

The MAGIC program, initiated by the Public Defender’s Office in 2004, convenes more than 100 community organizations and concerned citizens who work to reduce the number of kids who fall through social service gaps by efficiently coordinating opportunities, support and resources. MAGIC started in Bayview as BMAGIC, and was introduced to the Western Addition as Mo’ MAGIC in 2006 at the request of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

Each year, more than 500 youth and their families receive books at BMAGIC’s Annual Literacy is Freedom Fair. More than 200 youth participate in Mo’ MAGIC’s yearly Summer Reading program, which provides books and daily reading classes in the Western Addition.

“Mo’ MAGIC is excited about another backpack giveaway that focuses on supporting the academic and physical health of our children and their families,” said Mo’ Magic Director Sheryl Davis.

This year’s event was made possible by generous donations from the 49ers Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Urban Solutions, Tides Foundation Bayview Hunters Point Community Fund, Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, Veritable Vegetable, UCSF, Koshland Fellows of the San Francisco Foundation, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco BayView newspaper, Comcast, Rainbow Grocery, Afrosolo, Kaiser, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Schools of the Sacred Heart.

“We are honored to be a part of the MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway again this year to further provide youth in Bayview and Western Addition the opportunity to succeed in the classroom,” said 49ers Owner Dr. John York. “The MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway is a great way to further provide youth with the tools they need and aligns directly with our 49ers Foundation mission to keep youth safe, on track and in school.”

MAGIC will also distribute backpacks to kids and youth in the Tenderloin, South of Market, Sunset, and Mission neighborhoods.

For more information on BMAGIC, visit www.bayviewmagic.org. For more information on Mo’ MAGIC, visit www.momagic.org.

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