Inside Aera
Aera in the Community Aug 11, 2022

Equipped for learning

Aera employees help students get geared up for school in Kern, Fresno and Ventura counties

Families are cutting back on spending and working additional hours to fund the essentials — food, shelter, and school supplies – this season, as getting kids back to school is considered “essential” for families, according to the National Retail Federation.

The average family household will spend about $864 on back-to-school expenses in 2022, according to the NRF. Organizations and local businesses such as Aera are helping ease that burden for families in Kern, Fresno, and Ventura counties.

Thousands of local students received school-supply essentials giving families one less thing to worry about as kids head back into the classroom.

“We all remember the excitement of the first day of school,” said Aera President and CEO Erik Bartsch. “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. Aera is committed to building stronger communities in partnership with our schools and local organizations as well as providing the necessary building blocks for a healthy, thriving community as we live and raise our families here as well.”

Kern County students get school supplies to start school year off right

Aera Latino Employee Network volunteers helped stuff backpacks and distribute them to 400 Lost Hills Union School District students

More than 400 Lost Hills Union School District students received backpacks, school supplies and food to start the school year off right. Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) hosted the drive-through partnership with Aera Energy, Lost Hills Union School District (LHUSD), Kern County Aging and Adult Services, and Bakersfield College. Aera Latino Employee Network (ALEN) volunteers helped stuff backpacks and distribute.

“I am excited to host this event to provide students with the resources they need as they head back to school,” said Salas. “This past year has been challenging for everyone, particularly our students. I am excited to partner with these organizations to help our students succeed.”

Aera didn’t stop at Lost Hills, it helped give 1,000 Lamont and Vineland students backpacks filled with school supplies, as part of the Kern County Child Support Services’ Ready-Set Back to School Health and Wellness Fair.

Members of the Aera Black Employee Network helped stuff backpacks full of supplies for students at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County

Aera employees also donated hundreds of backpacks, lunchboxes, and essential school boxes to support Kern County youth from underserved communities through the Aera Black Employee Network (ABEN). Members of the employee-resource group stuffed the backpacks full of supplies and donated them to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County’s “Back 2 School: Stuff the Bus” School Supply drive.

“ABEN strongly feels our children should not be burdened or distracted from achieving their full potential due to a lack of resources,” said Anthony Bassey, an Aera process supervisor and chair of ABEN. “Aera has rallied behind this effort and the donations year after year have placed pencils in the hands of artists and calculators in the backpacks of engineers.”

A helping hand for homeless students in Ventura County


Aera-Ventura employees helped stuff backpacks for homeless students in Ventura County

About 3,000 students experiencing homelessness in Ventura County received backpacks filled with essential-school supplies through the United Way of Ventura County’s Stuff the Bus campaign.

Aera-Ventura employees fill thousands of backpacks with supplies. The Ventura County Office of Education then distributed the backpacks to local school districts to get them in hands of kids before the start of the school year.

“For so many of our families the little money they have may be better spent on food, paying rent or a new pair of shoes for the school year rather than backpacks and school supplies,” said Susan Englund, vice president of community impact, United Way of Ventura County. “We’re helping ease the financial burden on parents so the students can start the school year with everything they need. These supplies also promote learning, build self-esteem, and help our youth stay in school.”

A night out for school supplies, and police-community partnerships

Aera-Coalinga employee volunteers helped put school supplies in the hands of hundreds of Fresno County students at the city’s 2022 National Night Out

In Coalinga, Aera joined local businesses and put backpacks, binders, pencils and other school essentials in the hands of 400 Fresno County youth at the city of Coalinga’s 2022 National Night Out.

National Night Out promotes police-community partnerships through a national community-building campaign. It’s held in cities throughout California on the first Tuesday of August.

Coalinga’s National Night Out brought food, vendors, entertainment and free school supplies to Coalinga students entering grades transitional kindergarten through 12 and their families. Aera donated $1,000 to the city to purchase backpacks for the event and Aera-Coalinga employees were on hand to help distribute backpacks and lip balm (made from petroleum!).

“Aera’s donation to this event is significant and very meaningful in helping ensure Coalinga students are equipped for the upcoming school year,” said Coalinga City Manager Marissa Trejo.


DID YOU KNOW? Aera Energy is a three-time recipient of the Forbes America’s Midsize Employer List, placing ninth in the 2022 ranking and securing its spot in the top ten midsize companies to work for in the United States.

Aera Energy