From Kern to Ventura counties, Aera employees are helping students gear up for the school year
If you’re experiencing sticker shock at the grocery store, you may feel the same about buying school supplies this year.
The National Retail Federation predicts 2023 will be the most expensive back-to-school shopping season ever – estimating families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend on average $890.07, about $25 more than last year and a new record.
That’s why every year Aera partners with community organizations that are working to ensure students are equipped to start the school year to help ease the burden for families that are already having a tough time putting food on the table.
Aera donated $10,000 to support United Way of Ventura County’s Stuff the Bus campaign providing backpacks and school supplies to K-12 students who are homeless or may need a helping hand at the start of the school year.
Aera employees joined the United Way of Ventura County working in assembly lines and in shifts to assemble hundreds of backpacks filled with supplies on Aug. 3.
“Having a new backpack filled with school supplies builds the a child’s self-esteem and for a homeless child allows them to return to school with the tools they need to be ready to learn, just like every other student in their class,” said Susan Englund, United Way of Ventura County vice president of community impact. “We appreciate the continued support of Aera Energy in helping ensure Ventura kids have the tools to be successful in the classroom.”
The donated items were distributed from the Ventura County Office of Education to local school districts and given to more than 3,000 students.
Aera employees also donated hundreds of backpacks, lunchboxes, and essential school supplies to support Kern County youth through the Aera Black Employee Network (ABEN).
Members of the employee-resource group stuffed the backpacks full of supplies for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County’s “Back 2 School: Stuff the Bus” School Supply Drive.
“Families are being forced to make difficult decisions between needed school supplies and other family needs due to the financial pressures of the current economy,” said Walter Strickland, Aera purchasing specialist and member of ABEN. “We hope to relieve some of the pressure families are experiencing — providing school supplies to better prepare kids for success. We are grateful to our Aera family who help us year after year to make this effort possible.”
Aera’s donations didn’t stop in Bakersfield – more than 200 Lost Hills Union School District students also received backpacks, school supplies and food to start the school year off right with Aera Latino Employee Network (ALEN) volunteers helping to stuff backpacks and distribute them to local kids.
“We all remember the excitement of the first day of school,” said Aera External Affairs Manager Janea’ Benton. “At Aera, we want to feed that energy and excitement for learning in our community’s youngest residents and provide them with the essential school supplies they need to succeed.”