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Kevin Moshayedi, 23, the founder of Ark Collective loads 164 backpacks into a van Wednesday. They were to be distributed to students at Hughes Elementary in Cudahy on Thursday. The Ark Collective gives a backpack to a student in need for each pack sold. (SCOTT SMELTZER, Daily Pilot / January 11, 2011)

The Ark Collective, a Santa Ana-based company that sells backpacks, donated 176 free backpacks Thursday to less-fortunate schoolchildren at Hughes Elementary School in Cudahy.

For every backpack that Ark Collective sells, the company gives away one backpack for free to a child living in an underserved community, said Newport Beach resident Kevin Moshayedi, the company's founder and "captain."

"We're a backpack company rooted in giving back to the community…," he said. "These students don't have adequate school supplies, especially backpacks."

The Ark Collective sells its backpacks through retail outlets, such as the SEED People's Market at The Camp shopping complex in Costa Mesa, as well as via its online shop at http://www.arkcollective.com.

Imran Vittachi