CTH staff and Kern Avenue School staff who delivered the backpacks, from left, are Principal Francisco Flores, Officer M. Gonzales, Officer T. Carbajal, Sgt. O. Silva, Officer M. Fernandez, Lt. Rikki Horn and school teacher Stacy Garza.

By Central Transportation Hub staff

On Aug. 10, the CDCR Statewide Transportation Unit Central Transportation Hub (CTH) delivered backpacks to Kern Avenue School in McFarland. This was CTH’s second year conducting the backpack drive. A total of 40 backpacks were donated to the school, whose staff, in turn, identified the students who started the school year without a backpack. CTH staff filled the backpacks with schools supplies, lunch boxes, snacks and other small items for the children.

The CTH staff arrived at the school in a couple of CTH vehicles, which got the young students excited.  CTH staff gave the students high five’s, pats on the back, words of encouragement and handshakes.  One young student was delighted to see a CTH Correctional Officer was a female, evident by her excited comment of, “Look! It’s a girl!” while pointing at the officer.

Kern Avenue School Principal Francisco Flores and his faculty were excited for their young students to receive a much needed backpack and school supplies.  Mr. Flores stated, “This is awesome. We appreciate your generosity and thoughtfulness.”

Kern Avenue School Kindergarten teacher Stacy Garza, wife of CTH Correctional Officer Jaime Garza, coordinated this year’s drive along with CTH Correctional Lt. Rikki Horn.

Mrs. Garza assisted in the delivery of the backpacks.

“There are students who are less fortunate than others, and many times, they go without items that their fellow students may have,” she said. “This helps in letting them know they are equally as important and special as the next child.”

Lt. Horn said events such as these help the community to connect

“We enjoy doing things like this. I think it’s important the young kids know that peace officers are regular people that care about them and that we are their ally. It was great seeing their excitement. I hope this is a memory they will keep for a long time.”

Sgt. Silva finishes loading the CTH vehicle with backpacks to be delivered to Kern Avenue School.