Student Turnout - and Smiles - Highlight Backpack Giveaway’s Success

Thousands of students, countless smiles, and 95,000 backpacks given out for free characterized successful back-to-school events that Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan supported over the summer for children returning to school in Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

“Backpacks are more than just a material item students wear,” said Kristen Cerf, CEO, Blue Shield Promise. “They make a statement that students are prepared for school, that they have a secure way to carry their books, papers, and personal items between home and school, and that they have a distinctive personality, based on how they decorate their packs. I feel personal joy that we provided these important school tools to so many children living in the communities we serve across California so that they’re equipped with the resources they need.” 

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The Medel-Moreno family were all smiles as they picked up backpacks for their four children at one of the Blue Shield Promise/L.A. Care back-to-school backpack giveaway events.

In Los Angeles County, Blue Shield Promise and L.A. Care held back-to-school events near their network of Community Resource Centers. A video of the Los Angeles County giveaway events captured the energy and excitement of those weekends. These drive-through and walk-up events, open to the public, drew non-stop crowds of families eager to prepare their children returning to classrooms on campus this fall for academic success. 

'A great blessing during the pandemic'

Each of the 25,000 backpacks distributed at these joint events was filled with important school supplies, handed out by hundreds of volunteers and employees across many weekends in July and August. In addition, Blue Shield Promise made contributions to a number of community-based organizations that provided an additional 37,000 backpacks, widening the reach to students across the county.

The enthusiasm from families and children in Los Angeles County was the same in San Diego County. There, Blue Shield Promise joined with organizations like the San Diego County Office of Education to provide 20,000 backpacks and school supplies to homeless youth in need. Other organizations in San Diego County, including United Way of San Diego, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego, YMCA of San Diego County and SAY San Diego, helped deliver 13,000 more backpacks into the hands of local residents in need.

Participants appreciated the giveaway events. Here’s what a few of them said:

  • Gloria Medel and Nemecio Moreno, parents of three boys and a girl, aged 7 through 14 years old: “We received numerous invitations to this event, and our children’s school encouraged us to come here. We’re thrilled that our four children will start their school year with a new backpack.” 
  • Monica Roja, mother of three boys ages 4 through 10: “I greatly appreciate the backpack giveaway. It’s been a great blessing during this pandemic.”
  • Vielka Valenzuela, mother of two girls and one boy, ages 8 through 13: “I’m grateful to be here because I was able to get supplies for my kids.  I haven’t been working since COVID started so this is a great help for us.”

“We take pride in helping lead or contributing to annual back-to-school giveaway events to reduce the financial strain for families needing school supplies for their children in the counties that we serve,” noted Cerf. “We wish them all a healthy and safe school year.”

Blue Shield Promise and L.A. Care both serve primarily low-income populations in Los Angeles County. For more information about various resources available through the network of Blue Shield Promise and L.A. Care health plans’ Community Resource Centers, visit

For information about Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan visit: