209 Cares to give out school supplies, backpacks at Stockton mall

Nancy Lamb, founder and president of Stockton-based nonprofit 209 Cares, knows what it’s like to struggle.

Lamb said she has experienced homelessness, leading her to start the nonprofit in 2015. The mission behind 209 Cares, Lamb said, is to “make a change” and “help the homeless and less fortunate.”

That includes the youth in the community.

“We strongly believe that for children to get a good start in school, they need the essentials,” Lamb said. “Unfortunately, with the way things have been going, it’s become really difficult for parents to provide their children with that.”

On July 16, 209 Cares will be hosting its eighth annual school backpack giveaway at the Sherwood Mall from 11 am while supplies last.

Lamb said she organizes this giveaway every year because she believes it can have an impact on student success.

According to a recent survey by the Kids In Need Foundation, 76% of teachers said student self-esteem improved when students had the school supplies they needed.

For the past couple of months, Lamb has been collecting donations of pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, highlighters, crayons, rulers, folders and notebooks in preparation for the upcoming giveaway.

“We want to make sure that children feel ready to go to school,” Lamb said. “We want them to feel at ease going to school and not worrying about, ‘I don’t have this’ or ‘I don’t have that.’ “

For the past couple of months, Nancy Lamb, founder and president of Stockton-based nonprofit 209 Cares, has been collecting donations of pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, highlighters, crayons, rulers, folders and notebooks in preparation for the giveaway on Jul 16

Lamb said she has seen an increase in the amount of parents who are interested in receiving free backpacks for their children this year. She said parents have been registering online for the giveaway “left and right.”

Parents and families of children from other countries have even reached out to Lamb to see if they qualify for free backpacks.

“I recently had someone knew reach out to me that said they children from Mexico who were going to be visiting, and asked if there was any way they could get free backpacks,” Lamb said. “Unfortunately, our donations stay in San Joaquin County. That’s where our donors are. But it just goes to show we’ve had a lot more reach out this year already.”

Lamb said the nonprofit is aiming to give away 500 backpacks to San Joaquin County children this July.

Parents who are interested in registering for their child can visit stockton209cares.org. To be eligible for a free backpack, children must be in kindergarten through 12th grade in a San Joaquin County school. Children must be present at the event and identification is required.

Lamb said the organization is seeking volunteers for the event.

“All of our events are volunteer-driven,” Lamb said. “We have our board, but if it wasn’t for the volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to put these events on.”

Those who are interested in volunteering for the upcoming school backpack giveaway can send a direct message to 209 Cares’ Facebook page or send an email to [email protected]

Record reporter Hannah Workman covers news in Stockton and San Joaquin County. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @byhannahworkman. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.

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