Kids receive free school supplies from Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee

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Forty percent of underprivileged children and their families cannot afford school supplies and data shows that the cost of parents needing to purchase these supplies is increasing every year. In Santee, the Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee is out to change that. It has been getting donations for months, and over the weekend was finally able to give vital supplies to children in need.

Forty percent of underprivileged children and their families cannot afford school supplies and data shows that the cost of parents needing to purchase these supplies is increasing every year. In Santee, the Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee is out to change that. It has been getting donations for months, and over the weekend was finally able to give vital supplies to children in need.

“There are a lot of single parents and the rent is so high,” explained Maggie Diaz on part of the why behind coming to the School Supply Drive. Diaz was partaking of a Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee, Inc. (SMOAC) special event at the Santee Library on Aug. 20. SMOAC was handing out free backpacks and school supplies to students of all ages and from all geographic areas.  Diaz, a college student, needed one herself and for her offspring.

SMOAC president, Buddy Rabaya, “This is our third event. We have over 700 backpacks, thirty volunteers.  We go from 10 a.m. till whenever.” Rabaya was quick to credit the many organizations and individuals who helped pull this event together. Rabaya cited Dustin Trotter of TDT Construction with originally suggesting they do a school supply drive. Lloyd’s Collusion & Paint Center, Ron Hall Insurance, Walmart, Mission Realty Group and many more made this drive successful.

Sonia Neyland, general manager of the newly reopened (as of June 2017) Santee Papa John’s Pizza, said, “We donated pencils and pens.” They also handed out water bottles and wristbands.

“Just being able to help out the families is exciting,” said Miss Teen Santee Kamryn Correll. Miss Santee, Jennae Gonzalez, also greeted the students and both assisted in the project.

Sandra Echevarria, her daughter Delaney, 8, and Delaney’s cousin, Damian Santos, 10, from San Diego, read about the event on Facebook.  Delaney showed off her sharpener, pen, and colored pencils pulled out from her stuffed-with-supplies backpack.  Parents and children entering and exiting the library also stopped and chose movie character backpacks, solid colored backpacks, and a myriad of other ones. 

John Hossick, board member of SMOAC, said the committee has been around for 25 years. “We started out addressing rent control.”  Hossick noted there are 12 mobile home parks in Santee. “We deliver over 1,800 SMOAC newsletters,” he added.

The twelve parks are: Camerons, Highlands, Meadowbrook, Santee Mobile Estates, Town and Country, Greenbrier, Hawaiian Village, New Frontier, Mission Del Magnolia, Valley View, and Pleasant Valley. 

Rabaya has also partnered SMOAC, as a Santee Chamber member, with other chamber members to provide free Easter lilies, tea parties, information and health fair, and more activities. A Santee Community Center is also in the works. Its mission statement sets forth one of their goals as “collaborate with community leaders” and the School Supply Drive hit the mark on that.