For almost three decades, volunteers with the Community Interfaith Student Support Program (CISSP) have distributed backpacks to needy students in the Livermore Valley Joint United School District, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year proved to be more of a challenge.

After initially cancelling the distribution for 2020, program coordinators learned that because of distance learning, their efforts were needed more than ever this year.

That’s when Corky and Gary Baggett, with Uniforms Direct, stepped up and agreed to help with a scaled-back distribution that met coronavirus safety guidelines.

Uniforms Direct agreed to fill 550 backpacks with basic school supplies at its Southern California warehouse.

Late last month, the backpacks, including 450 for elementary students and 100 for older students, were delivered to Livermore. Elementary teachers distributed backpacks to their students, while child welfare and attendance specialists distributed backpacks to middle and high school students.

In past years, CISSP also provided gift cards to Payless Shoes, but the firm closed all its stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2019. CISSP said funds it had reserved for the gift cards were used to support the distribution of supplied-filled backpacks.

CISSP includes volunteers from St. Charles Borromeo and St. Michael's Catholic Churches, Asbury United Methodist Church, Baha'i Faith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Congregation Beth Emek, First Presbyterian, Holy Cross Lutheran, Islamic Center of Livermore, and St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.