Working closely with the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, volunteers for the Backpacks for Kids program netted more than $7,600 in food, gift card and monetary donations during their weekend food drive at the Pavilions at 11030 Jefferson Boulevard in Culver City.
“We had a tremendous amount of help from the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority,” said Jamie Wallace, co-coordinator of the program. “These gals are dedicated to serving the community, and they sure came through for us. They staffed our drive with volunteers for two straight days, and their enthusiasm and altruism made the drive soar.”
“It was our pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful cause,” said Ruby Cannon, the Family Strengthening Chairperson of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “Mu Lambda Omega Chapter was excited to learn of your group’s work on behalf of children in need. When we shared the information about Culver City Unified School District and ‘Backpack for Kids’ FOOD DRIVE in particular, everyone was excited and wanted to get on board to help.”
Thirty-two MLO chapter members signed on to help as did students from ASCEND, the sorority chapter’s mentorship program and young people from the Zion Temple Community Church. In addition, numerous Culver City elementary, middle, and high school students, along with parents and volunteers helped with the drive.
“All of my sorority sisters who volunteered were happy to participate in such a wonderful weekend of fellowship and service,” Cannon said. “‘Service to all mankind’ is what we are all about.”
More than 33% of CCUSD students receive free or reduced price lunches at their schools every day. For many students, this vital resource includes free breakfast. In some circumstances, healthy, reliable meals on the weekends are not a guarantee.
The CCUSD Backpacks for Kids Program provides food to CCUSD students who may not have access to healthy food during the weekend. Parents and staff work together to identify students in need. On Thursdays, parents and student volunteers at one CCUSD location fill the backpacks. The backpacks are delivered every Friday to each school for these students to take home anonymously.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Mu Lambda Omega Chapter wanted to get involved with the Food Drive because combating childhood hunger is one of the priority issues the sorority is tackling nationwide. The Family Strengthening Program initiative works to support community efforts to increase food security for children, and the sorority was thrilled to be able to contribute to the great work of the Backpacks for Kids Program in Culver City.
“This was a wonderful partnership, and we look forward to nurturing this relationship to support this program and the Culver City School District as a whole to bring whatever resources and volunteers that are at our disposal to benefit children in the Culver City community,” said Andria Hancock-Crear, Vice-President of Mu Lambda Omega Chapter. “As the Culver City Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., it is important to us to show up and show out so that Culver City knows that we are here to help. We are ready to get to work!”
Among the Alpha Kappa Alpha volunteers who worked over both days of the drive were Ruby Cannon, Monique Hunter-Dennis, Andria Hancock-Crear, Pier Hunt, Helen Clemmons, Sheryl Taylor, Natasha Finister, Lanee Brown, Judy Scates, Jamesella Dennis, Shawn Grayson, Eleanor Wallace, Janet Britt, Star Dixon, Karen Long, Cassandra May, Deanette Brewer, Jackie White, Akilah Wallace, Gwen Ribbs, Alison Kellman, Lanee Burns and Kelcy Taylor. In addition, three students from the sorority’s mentoring program, ASCEND: Bayle Babb, Tyler Curry, Matah Castlin; and volunteers Destini Williams, Talyah Simmons, Jesyca Simmons, Lauren Hodge, Abrezeauna Felder from the Zion Temple Community Church participated as well.
Parents, students and community volunteers run the program. School families and community members provide pre-packaged, nonperishable foods through school food drives and other donations. Tax-deductible donations (Tax ID 23-7014093) are also being accepted to fill the gap between the need and the food donations.
To make a donation, please go to www.CCBackpacksforKids.com or make checks payable to CCCPTA, put “Backpacks” on the memo line and mail to:
Culver City Council PTA
4034 Irving Place
Culver City, CA 90232
Donors can choose to donate any amount or select one of the following donor levels:
$10 – Backpack Filler (fills one backpack)
$40 – Table Setter (fills a backpack for one month)
$360 – Cornucopia (fills a backpack for one year)
Food Certainty (any recurring amount)
For more information, please email [email protected] or call (310) 936-2831.