Nearly three years ago, Golden State Foods (GSF) recently purchased KanPak and with the purchase came the GSF Foundation.

The foundation’s mission is “to improve the quality of life of children and families in need in the areas where GSF associates live and work through personal involvement and contributions,” according to the foundation’s co-chair, Connie Shire.

Prior to the beginning of this school year, the foundation provided backpacks filled with supplies to local first-graders.

The GSF Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was established in 2002.

The foundation is funded and run by GSF associate volunteers and is supported by its “business partners, community partners and customers,” according to a news release.

More than 80 percent of GSF associates support the foundation through personal involvement and contributions.

Some of the community outreach programs that the foundation supports are:

  • Back(pack) to School — Backpacks are filled with supplies for first-graders and distributed locally.
  • Best Foot Forward — This program provides shoes for those less fortunate.
  • Build-a-Bike — Volunteers build bicycles with children to help to teach them mechanical skills.
  • Coats for Kids — This program provides coats for children who have none.

In addition to the programs it puts on, GSF Foundation also partners with more than 600 charities and schools nominated by employees, such as Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Since 2002, the foundation has raised more than $35 million and provided more than 210,000 volunteer hours.

In that time, there have been 5,230 bicycles, 380,000 backpacks, 19,000 pairs of shoes and 1.9 million pounds of food donated.

The foundation provides these services in order to help those without homes or life’s basic needs, those who have been abused or neglected, those who are mentally or physically challenged, those who have terminal illnesses and other likewise at-risk individuals.

Because the foundation is run by volunteers, 100 percent of the associate financial contributions go directly to those in need.

For those who would like to donate or learn more about the GSF Foundation, visit www.gsffoundation.org.