A group of Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies are making sure hundreds of disadvantaged kids go back to school with everything they’ll need to start the year right.
The deputies, with help from Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and OCSD professional staff members, spent a recent afternoon in a briefing room in the Intake Release Center in Santa Ana stuffing brand-new backpacks with crayons, pens, pencils, notebooks, glue, scissors and other school supplies.
Dubbed “Pack-a-Pack,” the operation resulted from the efforts of OCSD’s Six Points for Kids campaign, a deputy-driven program that serves needy children through a variety of grassroots projects.
Volunteers stuffed more than 400 backpacks — five times more than last year’s first-ever backpack stuffing campaign.
“I think it is very important that kids go to school set, just to have that confidence to go back with new supplies,” said Deputy Heather Drummond, a regular Six Points volunteer. “With the new supplies, it gives them a step up.”
The filled backpacks will be delivered to children and teens in OC shelters, including Casa Youth Shelter in Los Alamitos, and Laura’s House, a domestic violence shelter for women and children, among others.
Department-wide e-mails went out to promote Pack-a-Pack and collection bins were situated at OCSD stations around the county, said Deputy Pete Chavez, the main founder of the Six Points program.
“This was great support through the whole department … sworn and unsworn … everybody,” Chavez said.
The backpacks were purchased with part of a $12,500 donation from the Southern California Gas Co.
Tina Javid, regional affairs manager with SoCalGas, said sheriff’s deputies have always provided stellar service as first responders during emergencies.
“The gas company was looking for ways to help,” said Javid, who stuffed backpacks alongside OCSD personnel. “We found out about an opportunity where we could make a difference. This is a great way to partner together for the same cause. We’re just honored to be part of it.”
The gas company and the OCSD are also brainstorming on ways to collaborate for future service projects, Javid said.
Asst. Sheriff Steve Kea, who is in charge of OCSD custody operations, said he was inspired by the number of his deputies who stepped up to volunteer for the project
“The deputies came to me with this idea and the answer was an easy yes,” Kea said. “This group represents not just the kind of people we hire but the sense of community they have.”