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While supplies last, backpacks filled with school supplies are still available for pickup at the Herrick Library

East County News Service

Photo courtesy of Grossmont Healthcare District

August 12, 2021 (La Mesa) - The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) supported hundreds of East County San Diego families at their three-day Family End of Summer Palooza event, giving away essentials to prepare for back to school.

Held at Briercrest Park in La Mesa, the Family End of Summer Palooza took place Tuesday, August 3rd to Thursday, August 5th, and featured a giveaway with school supplies each day. Filled with notebooks, rulers, pens, pencils, and more, everyone attending was eligible to pick up a backpack, whether or not their children were in attendance.

For those able to give, canned and boxed food was collected during the event for community members in need. In partnership with the San Diego Food Bank, a total of 205 pounds of food was donated.

Beginning Tuesday, ten community partners were featured at the event, focusing on preventable health needs. Organizations focusing on nutrition, mental health, and physical health were at the forefront, ensuring families had the opportunity for free health education and services.

To combat the rising COVID-19 numbers in unvaccinated residents, Wednesday featured Family Health Centers of San Diego, hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for ages 12 and up. Ending with a fresh fruit giveaway and a Zumba exercise class for all ages with the YMCA on Thursday, GHD provided health-related opportunities for 350 families in attendance.

“Going back to school after a year and a half of remote learning can bring many challenges to families,” said Board President Virginia Hall. “We take enormous pride and joy in being able to serve children and families with this back-to-school program. Its focus on health inside and out gives our local community the confidence they need for success in the upcoming academic year.”

The event also offered free activities including face painting, arts and crafts, a story time, and balloon animals. Herrick Health Library, GHD’s community health library, provided free books each day. An opportunity drawing was hosted each day, with three families receiving either a gift card donated by Sprouts, home gym equipment, or a home kitchen set, complete with a cookbook.

“We came out to the event because we knew you would have fun activities for the kids and great resources about health,” said Abby H., an East County mom who brought her daughter to the end of summer event.

Blue Shield of California generously donated $1,000 for the purchase of the backpacks. Aetna also donated most of the school supplies for the giveaway.

Additional partners supporting the event included Neighborhood Healthcare, La Maestra, El Cajon Valley High School Community Center, San Ysidro Health, Molina Healthcare, and Love on a Leash.


About Grossmont Healthcare District

The Grossmont Healthcare District is a public agency that supports health-related community programs and services in East County. The District formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital. It serves as landlord of Sharp Grossmont Hospital and owns the property and buildings on behalf of East County taxpayers. The district is governed by a five-member board of directors who represent more than 500,000 people residing within 750 square miles.

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