Bay Area

New Supplies Offer Confidence Boost for Bay Area Students in Need

East Bay principal shares the impact of backpack donations

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

In Concord, Principal Lourdes Beleche has been busy getting Cambridge Elementary School ready for the expected return to in-person learning on August 12. While Beleche and her staff are excited to have students back in classrooms once again, they know the past year has not been easy for the Cambridge Elementary community. 

“Our families are recovering from what happened throughout [COVID-19] in terms of job loss, in terms of illness,” Beleche explained.

94.4% of the students at Cambridge are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Beleche noted that the pandemic exacerbated many of the stressors her students were already faced with. 

“A lot of our students and our families are in situations where money maybe doesn’t flow in as easily as in other areas, so there’s a need, there’s a need for support with school supplies for our kids,” she said. 

For the third year, Cambridge Elementary students will receive new donated backpacks from Family Giving Tree’s Back to School Drive. NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48 are once again partnering with Family Giving Tree to collect backpacks for students in need. 

Cambridge Elementary School in Concord is planning to welcome back all students who wish to return for in-person learning this fall. NBC Bay Area Photo/ Alyssa Goard.

“Every kid is happy because they get a backpack.  That backpack belongs to them and it's theirs,” Beleche said with a smile. She believes these backpacks give students a boost in confidence knowing they are entering the classroom with all the tools they need to learn. 

“That eliminates that sense of feeling unprepared on the first day of school and also feeling like you don't have enough, you know, compared to the other kids,” Beleche added. 

Over the past two years, Cambridge Elementary has received enough backpacks for each of its roughly 530 students. However, with normal fundraising unable to happen due to the pandemic, Family Giving Tree expects to have fewer backpacks to donate than in previous years.  Cambridge is only slated to receive 330 backpacks this year. The number of backpacks going to Cambridge could increase if more people are able to contribute to the drive. 


Family Giving Tree requests donations of new backpacks and new supplies for this program, they have specific lists of items in need for students as well. If you wish, you can leave a note in the backpack you donate for the student who will receive it. 

You can build a backpack online by visiting our Virtual Giving Tree here.

Click here to learn more about Family Giving Tree.

IN PERSON: Drop off your donation of a backpack or school supplies in person on Friday, July 16 at Jamba in Mountain View (1037 El Monte Ave) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m and receive a free slice of pizza from Pizza My Heart and a free Jamba drink with your donation of a backpack.

Comcast Xfinity Stores: Visit your local Comcast Xfinity store to pick up a backpack tag and then go shopping for a backpack and the listed supplies. Please attach the tag to the backpack and return it to the Comcast Xfinity store. Click here to see a list of stores near you.

Principal Lourdes Beleche stands smiling in a classroom
Lourdes Beleche, the principal at Cambridge Elementary School in Concord, says that she is looking forward to greeting her students in-person when they return to campus this fall. NBC Bay Area Photo/ Alyssa Goard.
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