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The sixth Annual Back 2 School Backpack Giveaway provided backpacks filled with school supplies, vaccinations and haircut vouchers to 2,020 K-12 students attending the event at the Doña Ana Community College East Mesa campus July 16.
The local children also received a complimentary breakfast and haircut vouchers good for free haircuts at Glitz School of Cosmetology in Las Cruces.
The New Mexico Department of Health was also on hand to provide middle school vaccinations for TDAP, meningitis and HPV, while La Clinica de Familia offered COVID-19 vaccinations for those 5 and up, including boosters, according to a news release about the event.
The backpack giveaway was a joint project between Western Sky Community Care, Families & Youth Innovations and New Mexico State Representatives Joanne Ferrary and Nathan Small, both D-Doña Ana.
“All New Mexican children deserve to start the school year confident and well-equipped for success,” said Ferrary, who represents New Mexico House District 37, where the event took place. “We were honored to partner with Western Sky, FYI+, and other local community groups to provide hard-working Las Cruces-area families with the supplies and services they’ll need to head back to the classroom at no cost.”
“New Mexico’s bright future begins with a quality education for our kids,” said Small, who represents House District 36. “New Mexico House Democrats are committed to investing in our children’s education at every opportunity, with great events like this, as well as the much-deserved teacher raises and increased public school funding in this year’s budget.”
“Western Sky Community Care believes no family should face financial strain to get their children prepared for school,” said Western Sky President and CEO Jean Wilms. “Every year, Western Sky helps thousands of New Mexican students begin the new school year with supplies that they need at no cost, through our Back-to-School Program. When our children are prepared, New Mexico’s future is brighter!”
“Young people and their caregivers are at the heart of the work that we do at FYI+. Events like the Annual Backpack Giveaway give us the opportunity to share the love that we have for our community through an act of service,” said FYI+ Chief Operations Officer Jolene Martinez. “We are always warmed by the passionate involvement and willingness of our partners who join us in demonstrating what it means to be in community.”
Co-sponsoring the event were NM Appleseed Poverty Advocacy Lab, Albert Gamboa Moreno Stucco, Amador Patio Bar and Grill, AmeriCorps, Be Well NM, the City of Las Cruces, Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, Doña Ana Community College, Juntos, the La Vida Project, NMCO Creative Studio, New Mexico State University Athletics, Pioneer Bank, RAD Retrocade, Sam’s Club, Southern New Mexico Area Health Education Center, Southwest Bin and Pressure Washing, The Game Sports Bar & Grill and Walmart.