Feature photo: Volunteer worker Jesse Estrada hands a backpack to a youngster during the Back to School Bash at Oasis City Center in Stockton. (DUANE SANDERS/CONTRIBUTOR)

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Parents and students from around Stockton were lining up around the building at the Oasis City Center gym for the Back to School Bash.

But for ninth grader Fernando Rodriguez, it was more than worth the wait.

The event ran from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 for K-12 grade students in Stockton to provide school supplies to students in addition to partnering with local agencies to inform families of services that can help them.

Rodriguez appreciates that these supplies will make the school year easier for him.

“It’s very helpful for me because it helps me get school supplies we don’t already have,” said Rodriguez.

Oasis carried out a gallery walk-through event that allowed families to browse through the activities such as a balloon photo booth, free food, community resources, and registered students received school supplies and groceries. 

The line of people wrapped around the building at the third annual Back to School Bash at Oasis City Center in Stockton. (DUANE SANDERS/CONTRIBUTOR)

There are a lot of moving pieces that happen to put on such an event and Mary Lopez, a parent who registered her child for this event after seeing a flier, appreciates the work it takes for non-profits like Oasis to give back to the community.

“It means a lot because I, a couple of years ago, used to work for a non-profit and I would kind of do the same thing,” Lopez said. “Help other people get anything that they would need for back to school or food anything and I would just see how much the help means to the public who doesn’t have the means to, so now I am on the other side of the desk and I am grateful truly because I know what it takes, like the behind the scenes to get donations for people to get in and organize so yeah it means a lot.”

Volunteers for the day included students as well as community members and leaders who enjoy serving others in this hands-on capacity. Patty Bender is one such community member who has been serving with Oasis for more than a year.

“This is a time to give back, this is the time to help the kids and the people that need it, for me it’s a precious time, a time to serve, to serve God and the people and help out however we can,” said Bender.

Volunteer workers Lita Prema and Tiffaeni Bill (left to right, behind table) hand out school supplies during the Back to School Bash at Oasis City Center in Stockton. (DUANE SANDERS/CONTRIBUTOR)

This is Oasis’s third year hosting a back-to-school event and it was free to families with students who registered online.

Heather Green, executive director at Oasis, shared that 800 students registered for the event, and 300 of those students were wait listed but that ‘everyone will leave with something,’ whether it’s school supplies or groceries.

Oasis City Center can host events like the Back to School Bash with donations and community member volunteers.

People interested in participating in future events such as this, whether to volunteer or receive supplies, should follow Oasis City Center on social media or visit their website to sign up for their newsletter for the latest information.

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