ECHO PARK (CBSLA.com) — Thousands of school children received free school supplies in Echo Park Saturday as part of the Dream Center’s annual “Back To School Bash.”
Starting at 10 a.m., the volunteer organization gave away 2,500 backpacks, each filled with school supplies such as pencils, paper and notebooks. The event is targeted at low-income families from neighborhoods including Echo Park, Rampart District, Skid Row, Lincoln Heights, South Central and Watts.
Children were also treated to free health screenings, dental checkups, haircuts, as well as clothing and groceries.
The supplies were donated by the non-profit Dream Center and the Dodgers. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw helped organize the event, alongside his wife, Ellen.
“It’s just one less thing you have to worry about and now kids get a fresh start going into school,” Kershaw said.
“If we can just provide a small relief to these families we want to come help them with that,” Ellen Kershaw said.
Dodgers third-baseman Justin Turner also helped out and showed kids around the batting cage.
Singer Jordin Sparks also stopped by to meet fans and entertain the families.
“The more we can be there for eachother, I think that’s whats going to help change things,” she said.
Many families began lining up early on Saturday morning to take part, with some families arriving as early as 1 a.m.
“I’m here to get my school supplies,” said 11-year-old Kelvin Garcia, who arrived at about 5 a.m. to secure his place in line. “Some people can’t afford all the stuff. The Dream Center is very generous to give to people who cant afford it.”