FAIRFIELD — Everything is more expensive this year, including school supplies, said Sonna Silva, mother of four. She took her kids to the Fairfield Community Services Foundation Free Backpack and Food on Saturday.
The children – Paula, Lucy, Ismeale and Elizabeth – have all received backpacks again this year. The family also received two bags of food.
“It’s a great support and a blessing,” Silva said.
Things have been difficult for Silva. She cleans houses, but has found that many people can no longer afford her services because they have lost their jobs or become ill.
“They don’t work, so I don’t work,” she said.
Since the cost of food has increased with inflation, she envisions a higher food bill than at any other time in her life.
“It’s easily $100 for basic vegetables,” she said.
Her daughter Elizabeth Esparza said she was thrilled to have a new backpack.
“They have very good supplies,” she said. “It really helped for the school last year.”
They were only five people out of hundreds who came for the free gift.
The Fairfield Community Services Foundation has hosted the event for decades, according to Christopher Johnson, chairman of the foundation’s board.
This event lasted two months. There were 60 volunteers from various groups who came to help again this year.
The Town of Fairfield Quality of Life Task Force and local community partners all joined in to gather funds, supplies and food for the day.
“The main purpose of the event is to provide free backpacks, school supplies and food bags to those in need,” Johnson said.
The foundation donated $10,000, and an additional $3,000 came from other donors.
Larry’s Produce and Raley’s donated vegetables and more.
“We gave out two bags of food this year instead of one,” said Kevin Burke, chairman of the board of the Fairfield Community Services Foundation.
There were 900 bags of food to take away for drivers and walk-in visitors.
New this year was Ask the Doctor, where people could ask a doctor questions. They also had free Covid tests and Covid injections.
The Fairfield Host Lions Club offered free eye exams.
“We had a total of 1,200 backpacks this year,” Burke said.
They opened an hour early because so many cars were waiting outside, but that didn’t mean they closed early.
“We’re going to keep going until it’s all gone,” Burke said.
The event was presented by the Fairfield Community Services Foundation in partnership with Bethel Community Church; Macy’s; Kaiser Permanente; Richards, Watson, and Gershon; University of Touro in California; Services of the Republic; Syar Industries; Waste connections; and the City of Fairfield Quality of Life Task Force, including the City Manager’s Office and Police and Fire Departments.