LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Local children were able to gear up for school as the Dream Center handed out 2,000 backpacks filled with supplies during its annual “Back To School Bash” in Echo Park.
Families began lining up at 4 a.m., six hours before the backpack distribution began. CBS 2’s Joy Benedict found excited children and dozens of cheerful volunteers ready to help out.
“I have pencils, glue, notebooks, folders,” said Benjamin Figueroa, 6. “It makes me happy … ’cause this place is so awesome.”
High school students were also happy with their backpacks.
“It’s very important..I like it ’cause I don’t have to spend money,” said Paola Pinkus.
The annual event focuses on families that make less than $15,000 a year.
“It’s very difficult, especially when you when you work part-time,” said parent Sylvia Figueroa.
“Sometimes it makes a difference between what a family can afford and what they can’t,” said Matthew Barnett of the Dream Center.
Among the volunteers were Dodgers all-star pitcher Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen.
“When you set foot on this campus you see everything going on, and the lives that are changing, and I just really believe in the ministry and the work they are doing,” said Kershaw.
Clippers center Ryan Hollins also came out to support the effort.
“Just giving the kids a chance for education. Pencils, notebooks, whatever they need, just having a good feeling going into school,” Hollins said.
One mother said the money she saved on school supplies could be used for school clothes and food instead.
The Dream Center currently serves more than 80,000 people each month, and works closely with the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.