Ten elementary schools in the National School District were recent recipients of free school supplies.
The donated materials were part of the National City Police Department’s annual school supplies giveaway in conjunction with its police officers’ association, local organizations, businesses and the San Diego low-rider community.
Tuesday’s event was a local response to the state budget deficit, which continues to affect elementary school funding for basic learning supplies.
It was also an opportunity to bring members of the community together for a good cause.
The supplies were donated from local businesses including Target, Walmart, the National City Rotary Club and others, according to National City Police Lt. Keith Fifield.
Supplies including paper, pencils, glue sticks, binders, folders, backpacks and other school-related materials were boxed up and placed into police vehicles and delivered to the schools.
This is the fourth year for the event.
The officers were accompanied by members of the San Diego low-rider community who caravanned to deliver the supplies.
Fifield, who was in charge of the police unit Tuesday, said the event was created to show community unity.
“It started out when Chief (Adolfo) Gonzales and the low- rider organization got together and wanted to do something for the schools and help the community to show they are working together,” Fifield said.
Low-rider community liaison Mayra Nunez said they have been involved in the event since it began.
“Part of our mission is to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community … it allows law enforcement and residents see us as part of the community,” Nunez said. “We’re trying to get rid of the negative stigma so that residents accept low-riders as community members.”
Participating from the low-rider community was The Unique Ladies car club — the only all-women car club in the city of San Diego, according to its secretary and treasurer Sherry Yafuso.
Cruising in her royal blue ’85 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Yafuso is not only proud to be a part of an all-women car club, but to use it to help make a positive impact on the community.
Yafuso, 52, said the objective of the club is to get a positive image of females in the low-rider scene.
“In the low-rider community, we work with 11 other car clubs,” she said. “We do a lot of community service. It feels good to be out there and help.”
Members of the low-rider community participate and volunteer for several events in the city, including an annual toy drive, Auto Heritage Day and Thanksgiving dinner deliveries.
Some 20 people participated in the caravan, which included three low-riders, a few police cars and regular cars.
National City Mayor Ron Morrison, along with all the city council members participated in the event.
It was National City Rotary club member Bob Jackson’s first year being involved in the event. The club provided a matching $2,000 grant from Rotary District 5340, which totaled $4,000.
As a retired Sweetwater High School teacher, Jackson said he’s aware of the growing need for school supplies.
“It was our pleasure to be able to help out the community,” he said.
Approximately $10,000 was donated for the event, according to Nunez.