5,000 kids to receive free backpacks filled with school supplies at San Francisco’s largest back-to-school celebration

Read these youngsters’ faces to see the joy new backpacks bring – along with knowing that someone outside their family really cares about their future. These photos are from the 2006 Bayview MAGIC backpack giveaway.San Francisco – The MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway, the largest of its kind in San Francisco, will kick off the academic year by distributing 5,000 new backpacks stuffed with school supplies to kids and teens tomorrow, Aug. 22, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at two locations: Bayview Opera House, 4705 Third St., and the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, 1050 McAllister St.

“In light of the economic downturn and severe state budget cuts to education, this event has never been so important,” Public Defender and MAGIC founder Jeff Adachi said. “This year, there are more kids in need and more parents who cannot afford to provide the most essential tools required for their kids to succeed in school. Every little bit counts.”

The MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway, now in its sixth year, also doubles as a resource and activity fair with free food, games, arts and crafts, music, sports and performances.

In preparation for Saturday’s event, over 100 adults and youth volunteered three afternoons this week to stuff the 5,000 backpacks with pencils, notebooks, rulers, folders, crayons and other age appropriate supplies.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s backpack giveaways always provide young people an opportunity to demonstrate their skill and talent.“The entire Bayview community has pooled their resources to make this the biggest and most exciting backpack giveaway in San Francisco,” BMAGIC Director Yvette Robles said. “This celebration is about honoring those kids who are committed to working hard in order to succeed in school and overcome the odds.”

The MAGIC program, initiated by the Public Defender’s Office in 2004, convenes over 100 community organizations and concerned citizens who work to reduce the number of kids who fall through social service gaps by efficiently coordinating education, job training, social development and health programs. MAGIC started in Bayview as BMAGIC and was introduced to the Fillmore as Mo’ MAGIC in 2006 at the request of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

Each year, over 600 youth and their families receive books and computer training at BMAGIC’s Annual Children’s Book & Technology Fair. Over 200 youth participate in Mo’ MAGIC’s yearly Summer Reading program, which provides books and daily reading classes in the Fillmore – or Western Addition.

This little one is sure to start school with a smile and high hopes buoyed by her new backpack stuffed with new school supplies.“The kids in the Western Addition have been working hard all summer to stay on top of their reading so that they will be prepared for the upcoming school year,” Mo’ MAGIC Director Sheryl Davis said. “This backpack giveaway is really about rewarding them for their efforts.”

This year’s event was made possible by generous donations from the 49ers Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Kaiser, AfroSolo, St. Mary’s Hospital, Convent & Stuart Hall, Tides Foundation, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco Department of Children Youth and Families, San Francisco Bay View newspaper and Rainbow Grocery, among others.

”We are proud to be a part of the MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway to help give youth in the Bayview an even greater chance to be successful in the classroom,” 49ers Owner Dr. John York said. “The program is directly in line with our 49ers Foundation mission to keep youth safe, on track and in school.”

MAGIC will also distribute backpacks to needy kids and youth in the Tenderloin, Sunset and Mission neighborhoods.

For more information on BMAGIC, visit www.bayviewmagic.org. For more information on Mo’ MAGIC, visit www.momagic.org.