From the Heart gives away backpacks, school supplies

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Volunteer Amy Procop hands out tickets and issues instructions to arriving carloads of parents and students at the From the Heart Backpack Giveaway, Saturday, Aug. 15. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

Despite health mandates, distance learning protocols and a world turned upside down, the annual From the Heart Backpack Giveaway carried on in style, providing school supplies and more for the students in Anza and surrounding communities.

Held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Anza, the drive-up event provided students with new backpacks, shoes, socks and learning materials for the new school year.

The Hemet Unified School District schools are deploying online distance learning, but the children still need pens, paper, crayons and art supplies and a backpack in which to keep it all. New shoes and socks were given to each child, with the latest colorful styles donated by Jorge, the “Shoe Guy.”

Christina James, From the Heart Backpack Givaway event organizer signs in incoming families and students. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Scores of new footwear are available to students at the From the Heart Backpack Giveaway. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Backpacks full of school supplies are sealed in plastic bags according to sanitation protocols at the From the Heart Backpack Giveaway. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

Masks were worn by all, and social distancing was observed. Backpacks were individually wrapped in plastic bags in keeping with sanitation procedures.

Event organizer Christina James said, “Today, through all of the weirdness, and masks and gloves, we had the most amazing event. Everyone was happy. Everyone was appreciative. Everyone was working together. Everyone was good to each other. Everyone was helping each other. It was exactly what should happen – always. It was a totally awesome day.”

Many charitable organizations, businesses and individuals contributed to the success of the yearly affair, which is held the week before school begins.

Young students participate in the From the Heart Backpack Giveaway. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Child volunteers help the event run smoothly at the From the Heart Backpack Giveaway. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Parents select items for their students’ new school year at the From the Heart Backpack Giveaway. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

“We are so grateful for all of the many volunteers who stayed all day,” James said. “And for all of the donations. Thank you to the LDS church for allowing us to have our event there. The ladies from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church were a huge help, as well as people from Living Hope Church, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran, Rancho Chapel, St. Catherine’s in Temecula, Anza Valley Christian and City Reach Anza. Thanks go out to the Boy Scouts, and finally, for all of the From the Heart ladies and all of the hours put in not only today, but the many days leading up to this event.”

From the Heart Christian Women’s Ministries serves and focuses on families and children in need in the mountain communities of Anza, Aguanga, Mountain Center and Idyllwild. Fundraising events are held throughout the year to help collect money to aid this worthy cause.

Rummage sales, luncheons, raffles and the annual From the Heart holiday dinner help to present activities such as the backpack giveaway.

To learn more about the From the Heart Christian Women’s Ministries, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FromTheHeartChristianWomensMinistries/ or write to: From the Heart Christian Women’s Ministries, P.O. Box 391224, Anza, CA 92539.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.