The good deed

Student group fund school supplies for farm workers children

At the beginning of the school year, the world was in turmoil, especially in California. We had massive fires, people had to evacuate amid a pandemic, and the air was terrible, unsafe to breathe.

While all of this was going on, farm workers were in the fields working. They put themselves at risk to provide food for us and we will never forget that.

A group of students from Pinole Valley High School decided to join with the California Farmworker Foundation to help provide 40 farm worker children with backpacks filled with school supplies.

We created a GoFundMe account where we raised $1,196.85, far exceeding our original goal of $500 because there were so many people who wanted to help. We also had donation bins at Pinole Middle School’s front office and a local restaurant, Tandoor. We received many donations from community members and students. Because so many people invested in this project, we wanted to do our best.

After receiving the donations and money, we put the backpacks together. All the money went to school supplies such as crayons, markers, backpacks and headphones. The group met to fill the backpacks at a local park. We wore masks and took many precautions due to the pandemic. We all worked together and had so much fun, talking about how important this was and how we were happy to do this.

When the backpacks were ready it was time to give them to the Farmworker Foundation, which held a drive in Delano. Sadly we couldn’t make it due to distance but we were there in spirit! Many people came and the backpacks were distributed. In addition to the contributions from the Pinole Valley effort, the Farmworker Foundation provided cloth and surgical masks, wipes, gloves and non-perishable food boxes.

(Click here to watch the foundation’s video of the drive.)

Pinole Valley High students described how we were able to give back to a community that does a lot for us and help their children become more successful in school during these crucial times.

Kathleen Rodriguez decided on this project because she wanted to help the people who work hard to feed us.

“They work long hours through different seasons just so we can have food on our plates,” she said, adding that “these parents do everything for these kids and I relate to that with my family. I felt good because I knew I was helping people from my community.

“Not only does it benefit your community but it helps you grow as a person.”

She plans on doing something similar again.

Napali Padalino wanted to help little kids.

“This is important to me because I like helping people and making them happy,” she said. “I learned that it’s good to give and when you put your mind to something, it can happen.”

Kiren Subrayan thought the project was interesting, a great social experience that taught him a lot about the struggles some face.

“This allowed me to meet new people while also doing something great for others in need,” he said.

Emely Echavarria decided to help because she wanted to give back to the people who haven’t failed to supply us with food despite their challenges.

“This project was important to me because I wanted to let them know that their work doesn’t go unnoticed.The effort they put into things is deeply appreciated,” Emely said.

She also wanted to help the kids feel like school is important and get them excited for the new school year. She plans on doing another project because “nothing beats the feeling of knowing you helped someone out.”

I decided to take on the project because farmworkers are often neglected. They work long hours to provide food for us and they deserve more. I was able to relate to this community, especially because I am first generation with two immigrant parents.

Education is important to me and it’s important to me that others get it, too. This was a way to help these kids be prepared and excited to learn and to help me grow more as a person.