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St. John’s Episcopal Church and partners provide filled backpacks


Last updated 8/28/2017 at Noon

St. John’s Episcopal Church helps local children get a head start on the new school year with filled backpacks and new books. Pictured with their new backpacks are members of the Arias family, from left, front row, Kasey, Karen and Omar; back row, Katia, Marlene and Kelly. Kim Kinman photos

FALLBROOK – Nearly 375 kids from needy families received filled backpacks and a free brand-new book Saturday, Aug. 12, at a distribution party at the Fallbrook Food Pantry.

The Backpack Project is sponsored by St. John’s Episcopal Church, but many community businesses, organizations and individual volunteers pitch in to help in this worthy endeavor. See the "Thank You ad" in this issue.

New helpers this year were members of the English as a Second Language class, which meets at St. John’s four days a week.

“The main fundraiser is St. John’s annual Luau for Backpacks, which was a rousing success – and a lot of work,” outreach chair Michael McCormick said. “But this makes it all worthwhile.”

Hundreds of young boys and girls happily hugging their new backpacks, investigating the contents and picking out one of the new books spread out on four tables.

Pantry board member Cathy Monroe pointed out that backpacks can be a considerable expense for families with several children.

“Even on sale, backpacks are usually around $50 apiece not counting the contents, and kids need new shoes and clothes too for the first day of school," said Monroe. "So we’re really happy to help these families so the kids can do well in their studies.”

At the distribution party, a crew of volunteers from both St. John’s and the Food Pantry checked registration data and gave out the packs to eager kids, while others served snacks and a DJ provided bouncy music to enliven the scene.

“We enjoy this project enormously,” Rev. Leland Jones, rector of St. John’s church, said. “We’re already looking forward to next year’s luau.”

St. John’s Episcopal is located at 434 N. Iowa Street. For more information about the church and its activities, call (760) 728-2908, or visit


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