• Hundreds of local school kids find a community of support at Foothill Unity Center 13th Annual Back to School Fair


    Foothill Unity Center’s annual Back to School Fair has always been powered by local people coming together. On August 18, that strength was greater than ever as children of client families poured into Santa Anita Park in Arcadia to pick up the backpacks, grade-appropriate school supplies, uniforms, and clothing they needed to start the school year with confidence. 1,818 children were preregistered for the event.

    Most of the items were purchased with funds donated by the community. Students received a $14 shoe gift card provided by the Tzu Chi Foundation, and school clothes for high school children were donated by ELS, The Outlet.

    From cosmetology students to corporate donors, state legislators to local restaurants, a full circle of support surrounded the children every step of the way. Thanks to months of advance planning and work, every child received individual attention.

    Professional cosmetologists and Citrus College students donated a full day of hair and manicure services. Local businesses donated prizes for a special raffle. LoopNet employees handled face painting, Walgreen’s supplied personal care items, and Monrovia Reads provided a new grade-appropriate book to every child. More gifts for the students were provided by State Senators Bob Huff, Ed Hernandez and Carol Liu and Assemblymen Tim Donnelly and Anthony Portantino.

    Health connections were a major part of the event. The USC School of Dentistry offered free dental screenings. Western University College of Optometry conducted 227 vision screenings, and Kaiser Permanente manned a first aid station. Families got direct access to information from the Department of Social Services (DPSS) ; Hear Center; CHAP Community Health Alliance of Pasadena, which sponsored an Ask the Doctor table; Child Care Information Services; Monrovia Health Center and Pasadena Public Health; Pacific Clinics; URDC/Bill Moore Community Clinic; the Red Cross; and the Financial Planners Association. SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. showed families how to use seat belts and install car seats and booster seats, and gave free booster seats to qualified families.

    Fun was the order of the day as kids lined up for the chance to be rolled over by a model Mars rover from Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL), visited the ITT Deep Space Exploration table, and created a ceramic art project with Paint N Play. Other popular destinations included the Southern California Edison Big Truck display, a fire engine and crew members from the Arcadia Fire Department, and a games area with prizes courtesy of Capitol Source Bank.

    A snack center by the fountain featured Apple Dippers courtesy McDonald’s Restaurants Monrovia and Duarte, egg rolls from Panda Restaurant Group, fresh-roasted corn from Robin’s WoodFire BBQ, popcorn from LA Partyworks and apple juice courtesy of A Foundation for Kids.

    The cost of the massive event was covered by donations from hundreds of local individuals, companies and organizations. Major sponsors included Southern California Edison, Vons Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, Georgiana Frederick Children Foundation and Pasadena Independent Schools Foundation.

    Other key sponsors included Fred and Diane Bowden, City of Monrovia, Duarte’s Promise, Duarte Transit, Homer’s Auto Services, Lotus Care Center, Marshalls, Monrovia Library, The Monrovian Family Restaurant, Peach Café, Betty Sandford, Santa Anita Family Services, Starbucks Coffee, 3M Company, Xerox Corporation and Donna and Jim White.

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