Kids aren’t always happy to say goodbye to summer. But with school around the corner, these young children are excited and prepared for their first day of classes.
The Faith Victory Christian Center held its annual Family Fling Backpack Festival this month, where they distributed free backpacks filled with school supplies to 800 children and youth. The festival at Cool Spring Park included a free picnic lunch for the entire family, several inflatables and games, music, and a stuffed toy giveaway.
Faith Victory Christian Center (FVCC), located in Claymont, works with a variety of groups all year long to get enough backpacks, school supplies and food donated for the massive event. FVCC Pastor Alvin Walker is grateful to the many businesses, non-profit volunteer groups, military bases and schools that all contributed to the effort.
Sanford School rising senior Ananya Singh and her cousin Dr. Sarina Pasricha, who graduated from Sanford in ’00, donated 150 backpacks to the effort. They attended the festival to help give away the school bags and meet the many children and families there. The two are part of a volunteer group that they founded (along with Sarina’s sister Meghan) called Global Youth HELP, which stands for “Health Education and Leadership Program.” Their mission is to empower youth through service activities, and raising money to help give away hundreds of backpacks each year is one of their ongoing projects. “Education is something that I am really passionate about,” said Singh.
Pasricha, who graduated from Harvard undergrad and Northwestern School of Medicine, is now a doctor specializing in gastroenterology in Christiana. “We have been so fortunate to have a solid academic foundation, and it’s so important to us to reach out to our community and help others get a leg up with their education,” said Pastiche. Singh and Pastiche learned about the Faith Victory backpack initiative three years ago and have supported it ever since.
Pastor Walker says the festival is much more than a give-away. “It’s very important for kids’ confidence that they start day 1 with the right supplies. Their confidence is low when they don’t have what they need, like pencils and notebooks, or have to borrow items to do their work. It means a whole lot to them to have what they need.”