Annual “Back-to-School” Gift~Away Event

The pirate and mermaid themed event made a big splash with the families.

Kids & Families Together (K&FT) – Heart 2 Heart Program set sail on Saturday, August 12th, with all pirates and mermaids on board for their 13th Annual Back-to-School Gift~Away Event! This year’s event was sponsored by the Port of Hueneme, and The Gene Haas Foundation. The event was graciously hosted at The Assistance League of Ventura County. Over 100 children and 60 families attended the event.

The pirate and mermaid themed back-to-school event made a big splash with the families being served by programs at K&FT. Young mermaids, pirates, and even a few princesses, arrived to pick out their own backpacks and school supplies that were gifted by generous sponsors and donors. “Our community provided for these families in a way that is most needed, with day-to-day essentials”, said Jeni Futvoye, Community Resource Manager. The event theme, coupled with the beautiful weather and dedicated volunteers, provided a gathering for the families that was filled with support and light-heartedness. Each child was welcomed by a group of “professional” pirates and a fairy. The families enjoyed using their “treasure map” throughout the event to discover art projects, cuddle Xander bunnies, clothing, household goods, and more. Carl the DJ kept the mood light and F-U-N, playing hits the children would recognize, and dance to if the mood struck! At the end of the journey, children turned in their treasure map to pick out a special gift from the treasure chest.

One of caregiver commented after the event … “First and foremost, I wanted to express my deep gratitude for the event you hosted on Saturday. The experience was truly amazing, and we really enjoyed ourselves! The kindness shown to us by everyone was heartwarming, and we felt a genuine sense of love. My kids were talking about the event the whole entire day!”

K&FT is grateful to the generous sponsors and donors who made this event possible: The Port of Hueneme, Gene Haas Foundation, Assistance League of Ventura County, CarMax – Oxnard, Lavender Life Company, Pierpont Racquet Club, Ventura Downtown Lions Club, St. Maximillian Kolbe Church, Soroptimist International of Conejo Valley, Forty Leaguers, TruckStop, Above the Bar Entertainment, Bell Arts Factory-Michele Foster, Cal Lutheran University, LBA Realty, Meathead Movers, SoCal Honda Dealers, Key Club of Oxnard, and our wonderful community of individual donors.

Thanks to the 45 volunteers who worked so hard helping to prepare for this event by organizing donations and filling backpacks, those who helped with setting up and decorating, distributing donations, at the gratitude table, and art project during our event…making the event joyful and a memorable experience for all!

“Kids & Families Together – Heart 2 Heart Program is doing what we do best… providing meaningful and positive experiences meant to last a lifetime.” – commented Carrie McAuliffe Sandoval- K&FT staff and Heart 2 Heart co-founder.


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