Back to School Drive

The Back-to-School Drive
Building a path out of poverty

Education is the single most effective path out of poverty. But, sadly, one of the heftiest prices paid by those living in poverty is the impact it has on their child's educational performance.

Did you know:  One out of every four Bay Area children now lives below the poverty line?  By the 3rd grade, these students are, on average, already two years behind their peers in reading and math. (And, early reading has been identified as key to future success in STEAM-related subjects.)

When children start off with a learning a deficit, their ability to succeed in school diminishes. All too often they fall farther and farther behind their peers. Tragically, on average only 9% of children living in-need ever earn a college degree.  

That's why the Family Giving Tree is committed to building a path out of poverty through education.

Lack of money, lack of pencils

The average cost of school supplies alone is $101.18 per student for kindergarten through high school. When adding in the cost of clothes, shoes and electronics that total soars to $669.28 per family.

For those living under the federal poverty line, often there are no funds left over for books and school supplies - even the basics of pencils and paper.  When these supplies are not available in the home, homework often goes undone.

The price children pay for their families’ financial situation undermines their education in others ways, too. It destabilizes their self-esteem and confidence, and can create emotional trauma and personal issues that negatively affect performance in school and beyond.

“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.”

George Washington Carver

Breaking down barriers with backpacks

The Family Giving Tree’s annual Back-to-School drive was launched in 1995 with the goal of closing the educational gap for in-need K-12 students. New backpacks full of essential, grade-appropriate school supplies are collected and delivered to Bay Area students, most of them also qualifying for Federal Free and Reduced Lunches, via Bay Area schools and agencies. In 2016 the Family Giving Tree exceeded its goal of 37,000 backpacks.

The Back-to-School program recently enhanced its goal, aiming to include a new book in every K-5 backpack. With your generosity, we will continue to grow both the numbers served and resources offered!


How you can help

If you would like to support our Back-to-School Drive:

  • Donate—Your generous donations allow us to bulk-purchase gifts and expand our reach
  • Lead a Drive—Organize your own drive as part of Family Giving Tree's Back-to-School Drive
  • Volunteer—Help us sort and prepare backpacks for our recipient schools and nonprofits

Thank you for helping us bring hope and joy to those in need.