This is Hop’s fourth year hosting their community back-to-school drive
ATASCADERO — Back in 2018, Hop’s Bounce House owners David and Laurel Shepherd saw a need in Atascadero and decided to help fill it. Four years later, Hop’s back-to-school drive is still going strong, providing backpacks and school supplies to children in the community, making their transition back to school a smooth one. This year the back-to-school drive started on Wednesday, Aug. 3.
“The first year, we just wanted to give back to the community. We bought like 20 backpacks for people that needed them. And then each year, it’s just kind of grown,” said Hop’s Bounce House co-owner Laurel Shepherd. “This year, we could see there was a major need for it, so we ended up buying 140 [backpacks], and those were gone within two days.”
All year long, Hop’s has a donation jar set out in their business for anyone to contribute to the project. This year they raised around $300 to help buy school supplies, which is the most they’ve ever raised. On top of the money raised by the donation jar, the family-run business fills in the rest of the funds needed out of pocket.
Shepherd also commented that people from the community have dropped off whatever they could throughout the year for the back-to-school drive, especially in the last two weeks. Bags of markers, crayons, paper, lunch boxes, and even extra backpacks.
“We just fill them [the backpacks] with what we have here, with basic school supplies, and then people come and get them,” added Shepherd.
Usually, the backpacks and supplies trickle out into the community over a week’s time, and Hop’s has been doing the drive by word of mouth until this year. However, this year, Hop’s decided to post about the drive on their FaceBook page, and with additional media coverage, the backpacks flew out the door.
“The first day, about half of them were gone, and then once it got put on the news, in the first hour we were open [on Thursday, Aug. 4], the rest of them were gone,” stated Shepherd.
On Friday, Aug. 5, another community member dropped off 20 more backpacks, and by Friday afternoon, only four were left. As of Sunday, all backpacks and school supplies have been given away to the community.
“So many people have been so grateful and thankful, and you know anything helps them now with back to school,” continued Shepherd. “It [the drive] started as something small, and I think each year now, it’s going to continue to grow bigger and bigger. Which is great.”