The Silicon Valley Voice

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FedEx & Rotary Rescue School Supply Distribution in Sunnyvale

For several years now, Sunnyvale Community Services (SCS) has handed out school supplies to local families in need just in time for the start of the school year. The non-profit was ready to do it again on Aug. 2, the only problem was, the 1,600 boxes of supplies needed for the distribution day were stuck in Memphis, Tenn.

“We were counting on having these supplies here on Monday morning [Aug. 2], and that miracle needed a lot of help and goodwill to happen,” said one SCS employee.

That miracle came in the form of Rotary clubs more than 2,000 miles apart.


“After last Tuesday’s [July 27] meeting, Marie [Bernard] told me that the supplies for the school distribution were stuck in Memphis and asked if I could contact Rotarians there,” said Sunnyvale Rotary Club President Barry Vickrey. “When I got home that afternoon, I sent an email message to three of the large Memphis Rotary clubs. We started getting responses almost immediately.”

Things moved quickly from there. The Memphis Rotary clubs contacted FedEx, which located the packages in their warehouses. FedEx arranged to transfer the packages to a partner shipping company and paid the $6,000 expedited shipping cost. The supplies arrived Sunday evening, just in time for Monday’s distribution event, which happened to be the biggest school supplies distribution day in SCS history.

“The drive-thru on Aug. 2 was the biggest back-to-school day in our history, with 1,460 children each receiving school supplies and $100 gift card in a single day,” said SCS Executive Director Marie Bernard. “We will be distributing the back-to-school supplies and gift cards at our agency throughout the month of August for enrolled families. We’re on target to reach a total of 1,900 low-income children in the program.”

Employees and volunteers say none of this could have happened if it weren’t for dozens of people working together for a good cause.

“No one in Memphis had ever met us or the students in Sunnyvale. They just knew that low-income families were counting on these supplies, and Rotarians and FedEx put ‘service above self’ to make it happen,” said one SCS volunteer.

“We are especially grateful to Walter, the driver from Service One Trucking, who was determined to get the supplies here before Monday morning for the children,” said another SCS employee.

In addition to FedEx, sponsors like the City of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara County and El Camino Healthcare, as well as tech companies like Google, Facebook, Intuitive, LinkedIn and NetApp all donated to make the distribution day possible.

To find out how to get help from SCS or how to donate to the non-profit, visit


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