SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Many families are kicking off the new school year shopping for clothes and backpacks, but for students who are experiencing homelessness, back-to-school shopping isn't always an option.
City National Bank once again partnered with LA Family Housing for their annual giveaway, helping get some students in Sylmar what they need.
"I feel so happy that people are coming here, coming together and doing all this stuff for the families today. I mean just rolling out with new stuff, it's exciting," said student Leilah Zelaya.
"We will be giving away 5,000 backpacks total this year with one to every single child in the LA Family Housing communities," said Jennifer Nickerson, Senior Vice President of Corporate Citizenship for City National Bank.
Officials say this back-to-school season comes at a time when more students are living in shelters, motels and on the streets than in previous years. More than 100 families and nearly 300 students from LA Family Housing were invited to attend the event.
"My oldest is going to middle school and my middle child is going to kindergarten. As parents, we need to prepare our children when they go back to school even with school supplies," said parent Karen Zelaya.
"We want families and children to feel like they have everything that they need, just like any student would going back to school," said Kimberly Roberts, Deputy Chief Programs Officer for LA Family Housing.
In addition to the backpacks and school supplies, kids also received a new pair of shoes to start the school year off in style.
"I usually always have the same pair of shoes, so I'm just happy and excited to have a new pair of shoes," said student Keairra Saboy.
"I used to love all the fresh supplies I used to get at the start of the school year. And I think making sure all of these kids have that very special start with all of these brand new items really just helps to give everyone the right mindset to start the school year," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.
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