Rainbow Pack Brightens Students Return to School

Organization Donates Thousands of Backpacks for Pacoima students

“Thank you so much rainbow pack for doing this for my community. And that you for my son’s backpack. He loved it. But a special thanks to Riley Gantt from all our hearts,” wrote Sonnya Farias in the Facebook page of Rainbow Pack.

On Saturday, Aug. 9, Rainbow Pack —  an organization led by a 14-year-old Riley Gantt of Sherman Oaks — gave out hundreds of backpacks to students at Haddon Avenue Elementary School in Pacoima.

The backpacks were filled with pencils, crayons, paper and just about all the basics a child would need to do homework.

“Woo Hoo! In the last 4 years Rainbow Pack has given out over 5,500 backpacks full of homework supplies to kids in need in LAUSD,” tweeted the organization on Sunday, Aug. 10.

It’s a labor of love for Gantt, who came up with the idea after a field trip four years ago to Haddon Avenue Elementary School. She said she noticed kids who didn’t have school supplies to do their work at home.

She went home and told her parents she wanted to start a crayon collection drive at her school. With the help of her parents, that enterprise grew into Rainbow Pack. It seeks donations from companies and people to purchase the items and donate them to the schools.

Gantt continues to come back to Haddon. This year, she gave backpacks as well to students at Telfair and Sharp Avenue Elementary School, both in Pacoima.

The Pacoima Neighborhood Council also helped collect school supplies for the Aug. 9 giveaway.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Felipe Fuentes recognized Gantt’s generosity during a council session, noting Gantt has benefited thousands of kids in his district.

“I am honored to recognize this young lady for her efforts. It’s important we work together to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed in school,” Fuentes said during the presentation.