Kawhi Leonard, Clippers and Baby2Baby Donate One Million Backpacks to SoCal Students
Kawhi Leonard’s Southern California homecoming is well underway. On Tuesday, nearly two months ahead of his first season with the Los Angeles Clippers, the two-time NBA Finals MVP returned to his old stomping grounds at Cloverdale Elementary School in Moreno Valley to announce that he and his new team would partner with Baby2Baby. Along with the LA-based non-profit that provides basic necessities to impoverished children, they will donate one million backpacks filled with school supplies to every student in the Los Angeles Unified, Moreno Valley Unified and Inglewood Unified School Districts.
As the city looks forward to his impact on the court at Staples Center, Kawhi is grateful to have hands-on opportunities to contribute to his hometown community again.
“My goal this year is to make a meaningful contribution both on and off the court,” Kawhi said in front of an assembly of students. “This felt like the right way to get started. It was important to me to make this announcement in my hometown of Moreno Valley at my former elementary school, but the benefits this program will have across all of Los Angeles makes today even more special.”
Following a warm reception in Moreno Valley, Kawhi went to 107th Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles to join with Baby2Baby co-founders Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein, Baby2Baby ambassadors Zooey Deschanel, Busy Philipps and Nicole Richie, and Clippers president of business operations Gillian Zucker. Together, the group celebrated the donation by handing out backpacks to the students of the Watts elementary school.
The supplies provided by Baby2Baby and the Clippers are meant to help ease stress on low-income families across the three districts, as they head into the new school year. According to information provided by the Clippers, 80 percent of LAUSD’s K-12 students were eligible for free or reduced lunch, which means they either came from low-income families, foster care or homelessness. For those living in poverty, the gift of a backpack and school supplies can make a significant difference by freeing up resources to spend on other necessities, like food or housing.
“There are a lot of families throughout the LA region working hard every day to earn everything in their lives,” Gillian said. “This program is our effort to extend a hand to make heading back to school a little easier.”