For Immediate Release: July 1, 2014
Contact: Selina Ayala-Patlan, Valerie Martinez (909) 445-1001

MONTEBELLO – Students at Winter Gardens Elementary School became the first in the Montebello Unified School District to benefit from a backpack giveaway program sponsored by the District’s Police Department and the Friends of Safe Schools USA (FOSSUSA).

The process began in April, when FOSSUSA representatives visited several of MUSD’s most underprivileged schools. After the visits, schools submitted applications for consideration in the giveaway program. Ultimately, Winter Gardens Elementary School was selected as the winning school.

“We are committed to ensuring that our children have all that they need to be successful students and forging community partnerships helps us reach that goal,” said MUSD Board of Education President David Vela. “Despite being located within low-income communities, our District is rich in meaningful relationships with local organizations that contribute so much to our students, and we are so grateful for their support.”

Students at Winter Gardens were asked to compete in an art contest with the theme of school spirit. The winners of the art contest were invited to a special recognition ceremony with their families and members of the MUSD Police Department. Dozens of backpacks, filled with school supplies, were handed out to 24 of the most deserving students.

“Such a large number of students participated in the art contest to win the backpacks,” said Helen Meltzer, Winter Gardens principal. “We would like to thank everyone involved for their generous donations and for making this a special event for our students.”

The backpacks and supplies were donated by Life Insurance Company of the Southwest. George Munoz, the company’s spokesperson, said he was thankful for the opportunity to partner with the MUSD Police Department and FOSSUSA. Company officials, he added, look forward to providing these much needed supplies to students throughout MUSD.

“The school police department continually works to build strong relationships with students, their families and the community,” said MUSD Police Chief Linh Dinh. “Providing a safe learning environment allows students to focus on their studies and the backpacks and school supplies are tools for their success.”

FOSSUA is a non-profit organization that supports the efforts of safety and education in helping to raise healthy and happy children across the United States. Providing school supplies to underrepresented or underprivileged school district is one of the many charity projects undertaken by FOSSUSA.

“We are especially grateful for FOSSUSA and the MUSD PD for working to make this generous donation possible,” said Superintendent of Schools Cleve Pell. “Since the need is so great, the backpack donation program will continue in the fall when a new round of applications will be accepted.”

Photo Caption:

Students from Winter Gardens Elementary line-up as they receive their backpacks and school supplies through the MUSD partnership with the Friends of Safe Schools USA organization.