August brings back-to-school days, and with that comes a broad need for backpacks and school supplies. In San Francisco, where the United Way Bay Area (UWBA) Backpack Drive is in full swing, autonomous driving company Waymo has partnered with UWBA to help deliver the donated supplies to students who need them. Waymo provided the vehicles to deliver the donations to a local nonprofit, Compass Family Services, which will distribute them to youth and families.
“Having access to school supplies directly at our program hub means that students and parents can pick up backpacks without making an extra trip to Compass,” explained Madeleine Lemos, Communications Manager at Compass Family Services. “In fact, we have already distributed many of the backpacks delivered by Waymo and United Way the very same afternoon they arrived!”
For more than 100 years, Compass Family Services has led the way in helping San Francisco families facing homelessness secure stable housing and attain economic self-sufficiency, with more than 95% of participating families achieving lasting success. “We believe in the power of education alongside the support services our programs provide as an essential part of breaking the cycle of family homelessness,” Lemos said.
We believe in the power of education alongside the support services our programs provide as an essential part of breaking the cycle of family homelessness.
This year marks the 5th annual United Way Bay Area Backpack Drive. Over the past five years, UWBA has distributed over 4,000 backpacks across the Bay Area while working together with nonprofits, corporate partners, and the community to break the cycle of poverty. To expand their reach to more families throughout the Bay Area, they have partnered with 28 agencies to distribute the school supplies and backpacks to the students who need them most.
“This year, UWBA collected over 1000 backpacks, delivering essential school supplies to families in need within our community,” said Rita Gupta, UWBA Director of Corporate Partnerships. “Thanks to our partner, Waymo, we had the unique and innovative opportunity to deliver backpacks directly to Compass Family Services with the help of Waymo vehicles.”
Waymo vehicles delivered directly to Compass Family Services’ main service hub in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco, where families were able to pick up backpacks and school supplies. The delivery was made one week before the start date of the San Francisco Unified District’s school year, right on time to help ensure many students get the supplies they need to help them learn.
Waymo, which has autonomously driven tens of millions of miles on public roads, is currently operating its ride-hailing service in San Francisco as part of the Trusted Tester program and counts many San Francisco-area nonprofits among its local community partners.
Providing easy access to essential school supplies can go a long way to help combat the disadvantages they already face in the education system due to structural inequalities, Gupta explained.
“Only together can we create an equitable Bay Area where everyone has the opportunities and resources needed to thrive,” emphasized Gupta.
Only together can we create an equitable Bay Area where everyone has the opportunities and resources needed to thrive.
Waymo will continue to partner with nonprofits, such as United Way Bay Area and Compass Family Services, and support their missions of connecting people and communities and making our community a better place for all.
To learn more about how you can help Compass Family Services change the lives of San Francisco’s most vulnerable families, please visit the Give Back section of their website.
To learn more about how you can help Bay Area families and individuals meet basic needs, find jobs, access affordable housing and become financially stable, please visit UWBA’s Ways to Give section of their website.
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