Students at Maxwell Elementary School won't have to borrow pencils anymore.
They got their own Wednesday, along with backpacks and other supplies, from the Orange County Rescue Mission's Mobile Rescue Vehicle, which delivered more than 2,000 donated items.
"It's a big deal for a child to get school supplies," said event spokeswoman Donna Hahn. "We want to make sure kids have the proper tools so they can feel good about wanting to go to school."
The Rescue Mission's Project Backpack is designed to equip some of Orange County's neediest children with school supplies.
Sixth-grader Elva Carrete chose a green-and-blue backpack with crayons, glue, pencils and papers stuffed inside from among the supplies set out on picnic tables. "It was exciting, because I didn't think somebody would give us a backpack," she said.
Principal Kristin Lasher was about as excited as her 800 students Tuesday: "I've been a principal for over 15 years. I've had a lot of good days, but never one quite like today."
About one-third of the students at Maxwell live in residential motels, Lasher said. About 75% received reduced-fee or free lunches last year. About 25% receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children.