The Hill Vallejo helps kids ‘get back’ to school – Times-Herald
Six-year-old Mahdi Hawkins was already thrilled to receive a new backpack on Saturday morning, but it was the contents that took his excitement to another level.
Well, officially a freshman level.
“Oh my God, there’s stuff here!” Hawkins screamed, looking at new folders, pencils, pens, crayons and the like, his eyes widening like the Grand Canyon as he jumped up and down
Mahdi’s excitement spread to younger brother Bodhi, who opened his own – and first ever – backpack.
It was all part of organizers’ plan with The Hill Vallejo, a Christian church off Locust Drive in the city. The annual event, complete with a jump house for children, food and drink including hot dogs, and a tank where church pastors often ended up getting soaked with some 500 backpacks offered.
It was worth it for Pastor Fi Portillo.
“We need to get kids to school with everything they need to help them start the school year,” Portillo said. “Once the year is over, it won’t be so expensive for the parents because we’ve helped them get started. There are already so many things to worry about.
Portillo, like Pastor Tahirah Siliezar, was thrilled to see cars lined up to pick up backpacks as early as 8:30 a.m., a good half hour before the event started.
“It was awesome,” Siliezar said. “We kept telling people we were so glad they came. The families coming so early were a surprise, but the amount of smiles we saw was no surprise. So many people were very grateful and they love jumping into the new school year.
Portillo said the hill, with help from the Fighting Back Partnership, began planning for the event in the spring, culminating in a Friday night packing party.
“We had 124 volunteers,” Portillo said. “Because we had so much help, it only took us about 45 minutes to fill all the backpacks with supplies.”
Following the distribution of backpacks, there were faces to paint and temporary tattoos to put on.
“One of my favorite parts of today was seeing this little girl and she couldn’t stop smiling after getting her temporary tattoo,” Portillo said.
Nikki Studer says her kids are having a blast.
“There’s a real sense of community here today,” Studer said. “All church staff were accommodating and very helpful.”
Laura Sanchez said her children, aged 5 and 6, were thrilled to have backpacks. It was the same for Asia Mitchell, the mother of Bodhi and Madhi Hawkins.
“We’re from Maryland and just moved to Vallejo a few months ago,” Mitchell said. “I love all the people here. Everyone is so friendly. There is good music, good activities. Everything is fine. »