Santa Cruz County Office of Education Photo montage
Student Services Division

Write-Start Backpack Project


Write-Start 2015

For 27 years the Write-Start Backpack Project has been providing homeless and low-income students with new backpacks and school supplies to start the new school year. Since its inception in 1989, the Write-Start Backpack Project has provided over 28,300 backpacks to Santa Cruz County students.

For the last 7 years the Write-Start Backpack Project has partnered with United Way to "Stuff the Bus." This partnership has assisted in increasing donations and awareness of the need in Santa Cruz County. Volunteers from the SCCOE, United Way, Target and Bay Federal Bank help each year to stuff backpacks and then stuff the school bus with all the collected donations.

Write-Start poster Donations are collected year round and can be made online through our PayPal account. Checks addressed to Students in Transition are also accepted. New backpacks or school supplies are also welcome to be dropped off at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. We also make arrangements to pick up donations by request.

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the Write-Start Backpack Project over the years!

The Write-Start Backpack project links with local agencies that serve children in need. These agencies have provided their support by assisting in the distribution of backpacks and school supplies. Some of the agencies include: CASA, Child Welfare, Roots and Wings, Live Oak Resource Center, Davenport Resource Center, T.T.T. Camp, Families Together, Rebele Shelter, Pajaro Valley Family Shelter, Jesus- Joseph and Mary Home, Cal-Works, GEMMA, Womenís Crisis Center, Fast Track, and Families in Transition. The Write-Start Project keeps a master list of students receiving backpacks to ensure no duplication of services occur.

In addition, local school districts also partner with the Write-Start Project to increase distribution efforts. These include Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Santa Cruz City Schools District, Live Oak School District, Soquel Union Elementary School District, Scotts Valley Unified School District, and the SCCOE Alternative Education Program.

pile of new backpacks for school

The highlight of the drive is always the distribution to students in need. Children in grades K-12 from homeless and low-income families are delighted to receive a new backpack filled with all of the necessary school supplies. Some of the comments heard from the children who receive the backpacks are, "WOW! This is awesome!" "Iím totally set for school." And, "This feels like Christmas."

Itís never too late to help! The need is high and the Write-Start Project will continue to collect donations year round in efforts to fulfill the educational needs of homeless and low-income students.

Donate to Student Support Services
Write-Start Project


There is never enough funding to provide 100% of the needy students in Santa Cruz County with the services they deserve. Now you can make an online donation for one of our programs! Online donations through PayPal are fast, secure, and your donation goes directly to services for Santa Cruz County youth.


All donations made to Student Support Services must be accepted by the County Board of Education. Once your donation has been reviewed and accepted, we will notify and thank you by mail. This process may take 4-6 weeks.


Currently, we are in need of the following items:
  • Santa Cruz Metro bus passes (kids can't learn if they cannot get to school)
  • Large backpacks for High School Students - no red or blue
  • 3 ring binders 1 1/2 or 2 inches
  • Binder paper
  • Spiral bound notebooks
  • Rulers
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Color crayons
  • Colored pencils
  • Color markers
  • Calculators
  • Glue sticks
  • Shoe gift certificates
  • Clothing gift certificates
  • Cash donations also accepted or donate online using PayPal!

All items may be dropped off or mailed to:
Students in Transition
Attn: Nohemi Macias
Santa Cruz County Office of Education
400 Encinal St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Please make checks payable to Students in Transition.
If you have any questions, please call Nohemi Macias at (831)466-5710

Download the Write-Start Backpack Project flyer

Write-Start Backpack Project Write-Start Backpack Project Write-Start Backpack Project


Home About the SCCOE Schools Calendars Jobs Contact Us Directions Search Site Index
Santa Cruz County Office of Education  |  400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060  |  831.466.5600  |  Fax: 831.466.5607
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides quality educational programs and services to a diverse community.