Nurturing Kit Culture: Volunteers Rally to Get Kids Ready for School

For years, Mercy Housing California’s (MHC’s) onsite resident service coordinators have partnered with a strong corps of dedicated volunteers to support our community programs. While the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most in-person volunteer opportunities, our dedicated partners still found ways to make the last eighteen months less isolating for MHC residents. Now, as kids prepare to walk through a real classroom door for the first time since early 2020, they can do so with full confidence and the tools they need to learn. Thanks to our generous partners at California Bank & Trust, Dignity Health, the James E. Robert Obayashi Corporation, Equal Learning Fund, the Junior League of San Francisco, Bay Church and participants in a community drive organized by Karen Bregar and friends, MHC will provide around 1,700 back to school kits to residents throughout California.

Youth Wearing Mask and T-Shirt at White Rock Village

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, MHC’s committed community members helped to foster Kit Culture, an off-site volunteering opportunity in which supporters created kits full of much-needed supplies for residents. From welcome baskets stocked with household provisions for families and individuals moving into new homes, to “Camp Mercy” bags providing fun materials for kids enrolled in MHC’s summer program, these heartfelt contributions have made a huge difference for residents whose incomes were impacted by the pandemic. While some in-person volunteer opportunities have now returned, Kit Culture remains very much alive at MHC, with most volunteers focusing on back-to-school kits including new backpacks stuffed with school supplies.

“I’m hoping a physical backpack will provide kids with that reassurance – that feeling that things are back in session,” said Kylie French, MHC Volunteer Coordinator. “We had backpack donations for some resident families in years past, but we’ve never had such an organized outpouring of support before.”

As our generous partners have shown, housing is just the beginning when it comes to building healthy communities. As school doors finally reopen this fall, kids who call Mercy Housing California home will be well-equipped for a great first day.

To sponsor or contribute a Back-to-School Kit, click here!