BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The nonprofit The Bakersfield AIDS Project is determined to make sure children impacted by HIV feel prepared and supported as the new school year begins.
“They either have it or they have a family member who maybe has it or has passed away from the virus, and we’re still here to support them and continue them with having services from us," said board member Phillip Castro.
Castro said the nonprofit is asking community members to donate supplies like backpacks, notebooks and markers. In light of COVID-19, they are also accepting items like face masks and hand sanitizer.
Castro said the pandemic doesn’t change a student's need for supplies.
“This year is just a tad bit different. I mean, we are doing virtual education this year so far, but we are wanting still a lot of the things kids need to be successful in school," Castro said.
For a full list of items to can donate, you can visit The Bakersfield AIDS Project Facebook event.
The school drive will continue through Tuesday and donations can be dropped off at Martin’s Meats and Deli on 21st Street.
“Just let us know that you’re there to drop off for the school drive and we, if you’re comfortable enough, we’ll take your photo with the supplies that you're dropping off and if not, of course, you can just drop it off and hopefully you have your extra credit assignment," said Castro.
That extra credit assignment is a note of encouragement. Castro said they would love it if you also include a note with your items for the child they are given to, giving them an extra reason to smile on the first day of school.
“That way when, you know, the little kids get this stuff, they can see that people in the community are here and they care for them and their health and their wellbeing, and they want them to have a successful school year," said Castro.
Martin’s Meats and Deli is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday if you’d like to donate items. Otherwise, Castro says to contact them at 661-742-3611 to set up a drop off time.