One in four children in California’s Bay Area lives in poverty. With back-to-school season in full swing, Smith employees at our Silicon Valley location wanted to make a difference – with a little assistance from some neighboring offices.
Smith employees helped students make the most out of the new school year by donating backpacks and supplies to Family Giving Tree. This organization puts particular focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) education, which encompasses areas of study that are critical and industry-specific in the Bay Area.
Danny Phan, Procurement Specialist, came across the Family Giving Tree donation drive and pitched the idea to Luis Freitas, the manager of Smith’s California office. After their team’s participation was approved, Danny had another spark of inspiration: More is better.
To boost their efforts, he reached out to other companies in the neighboring offices and dropped off fliers with instructions on what supplies to donate and where to drop them off. Together, they manually put together 15 backpacks and contributed an additional $220 in online donations.
Still, they looked for more ways to get involved. Eleven employees and interns drove out to the Family Giving Tree warehouse and assembled even more backpacks and supplies.
“We set a goal of putting together 400 backpacks in two hours, and we met that goal!” said Danny. “It was so refreshing and uplifting for us to donate a few hours of our time to positively impact someone else’s education.”
After they were assembled, the backpacks were distributed to more than 300 schools in the greater Bay Area that have high enrollment levels in the National School Lunch Program. Typically, more than 60 percent of the students at these schools are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. At many schools, the rates are above 90 percent.
“I grew up in a low-income family, and so I personally know about the struggles that these families go through,” Danny said. “Because of the opportunities I have at Smith, I am finally in good enough financial standing to be able to give back to my local community.”