Second Annual Bienestar Backpack Project Kick-Off...Earn Your Karma Points Here!

Remember how fun and wonderful it was on that first day of school to have your new sparkly backpack full of new school supplies that you could not wait to use? And then you get to school and you take each item out and very carefully arrange them in your desk in just the right way. And everyone around you is comparing the colored pencils they got and the erasers that you got and which things everyone have that are the same...

And remember as a parent, how excited your child was to get that new backpack and picking out all the fun school supplies for their new school year?

Now just for a second, imagine that you barely have enough money for food each month, that there is no such things as "school shopping", and that you have to send your child off on the school bus with no backpack, no school supplies. Is your heart-breaking? Yes, if you are human, it is a little bit.

I am coordinating a project with a nonprofit called Bienestar. Bienestar works with ten apartment complexes that house some of the poorest of the poor, the average yearly income is $20,000. For whatever reason that they are living in the situation they are - they still have children. And these children still care. They have feelings. And they are normal kids who just want what every other kid wants. And starting the school year off right means having a backpack with the basic school supplies on that first day.

About Bienestar:
The vision of Bienestar: Quality affordable housing is essential for individuals, families and communities to thrive. We envision and develop communities where residents find dignity, hope, confidence, skills, and courage to pursue their dreams.  We believe in the resilience and capacity of all human beings to help, change, adapt and lead in their own lives, their families, neighborhoods and communities. We work in the midst of the poorest neighborhoods to unleash the potential of people to improve the quality of life for themselves, their children, their families, and the community.
Bienestar has a variety of programs:
  • Promotores Program, an adult workforce training program to develop community leadership and educate low-income parents about health, school and job resources, housing/financial information, and prepare selected residents for future jobs in outreach.
  • Adult Programs: Programs for adult residents include computer classes, financial literacy, community gardens and more.
  • Youth Programs: Programs for young residents include Homework Club, AKA Science Club, Basketball Club and more.
Bienestar doesn't just give handouts. They reach out their hand and they lead you on the path to success. They are wonderful, and I am excited to be able to help them in any way.

The cheapest backpacks cost about $20 in the store. The average cost for basic school supplies is about $20. Simple math...$40 for one child to have what they need to start the school year off right.

I have 4 weeks to get all the supplies. There will be a volunteer event planned in August to actually stuff the backpacks with supplies. Bienestar staff will pass the bags out to the homework club kids (who actually do meet in the summer to study!).

This is my second year planning this project - last year was a huge success, which is amazing considering I planned it all and had all the donations gathered within a three-week time frame...

So who is with me? Who is ready to donate $5 (or $25) to help my backpack project?

Or who has a great contact with a company who would be willing to donate?
If you're feeling generous, or want to go to heaven, or are collecting karma points, or just have $20 burning a hole in your pocket - please click the button below and help out. Or email me and I can send you a mailing address. Or bring something on over to my house. And then just sit back and feel good about helping out!

Thanks all!


  1. Trista C. said...:

    Hi Kaylen,

    I'm totally willing to help you stuff the backpacks again this year. This is such an awesome project. I will get the word out to my book club again and see what I can come up with in terms of donations.

  1. Brian Miller said...: wishes on the project and i hope it is even more uccessful than last year!

  1. Serenity said...:

    I'm watching out for bargains. It u need someone else to shop with you due to "limits" on sale items let me know. Also if you need someone to help stuff packs I would probably be able to do that too.

  1. Serenity said...:

    Just saw a craigslist ad that city liquidators is giving away tons of free binders. It might be worth checking out,


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