Valley News -

By Diane Sieker

From The Heart gives away backpacks, school supplies


Last updated 8/16/2018 at 9:56am

Diane Sieker

This little boy carefully admires his new balloon animal made by balloon artist GeriLyn Blanton Mellin of Ballooner Nooner at the annual From The Heart backpack giveaway event Saturday, Aug. 11.

Once again excited children and happy parents revelled in the generosity shown to each and every one at the annual From the Heart backpack event, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11. The much-anticipated gathering resulted in huge smiles, spiffy new haircuts, brand-new backpacks, shoes and school supplies.

Many charitable organizations and people contributed to the success of the day, held at the Hamilton High School gymnasium.

Event organizer Christina James buzzed around with limitless energy, ensuring that no one was left out and answering questions rapid-fire.

"Esther Barragan, Blake Booth, Kevin Watson, Lynnette Smith, Isaac, Paulina – these are just a few names of the many who were here today to be a part of From The Heart's annual backpack event." James said. "Phil Tinsley the Barber, Gerilyn Blanton Mellin the balloon lady, Anza Pizza Factory, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Anza Valley Christian Fellowship, Hamilton ASB, Cityreach Anza, Living Hope, TOPS and more all came together to serve the community today. We are so grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you for being a part of this event," James said.

"Thank you From The Heart. With everything this past month, you guys are amazing. What a fantastic event for kids going to school," Kat Miller wrote on social media.

Phil the Barber and another hair stylist cut the children's hair, free of charge. Excited children showed off their new dos, ready to look stylish for the first day of school. New shoes, socks, backpacks and supplies like paper and pencils were also showered upon the students.

Diane Sieker

All smiles, the boy watches as Gerilyn Blanton Mellin creates a balloon animal for him at The annual From the Heart backpack giveaway event Saturday, Aug. 11.

Susie Cable said, "Thank you so much for doing this for our kids every year. I know the kids are always so excited when they go back to school with their new backpacks, haircuts and shoes. You rock."

GeriLyn Blanton Mellin, who is also well-known for her balloon art skills, created balloon animals for onlooking students. 

"I had a great time making balloons for all of the kids," she said.

The From The Heart Christian Women's Ministries serves and focuses on families and children in need in the the mountain communities of Anza, Aguanga, Mountain Center and Idyllwild. Fundraising events are held throughout the year to help collect money to aid the cause. Rummage sales, luncheons, raffles and the Annual From The Heart's holiday dinner all help aid their efforts.

To learn more about the From The Heart Christian Women's Ministries, visit their Facebook page at or write to: From The Heart Christian Womens Ministries, P.O. Box 391224, Anza, Ca. 92539.


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