Families struggling financially to provide school supplies for their children are getting a helping hand from Project Back to School. On Saturday morning, the organization held their 5th annual Project Back to School Round Up at McNiel Junior High School where they gave away brand new backpacks and school supplies to disadvantaged WFISD students. Over 1,000 people were lined up before doors even opened to take advantage of the opportunity.
"We saw that there was an increased need for low income families providing school supplies and preparing their kids for school so we wanted to help these families get prepared and give them a good start to the school year" said Project Back to School Board Member Matt Yell.
The event also had over 60 local vendor booths from the community handing out information about school and community services as well as free vision and dental screenings to qualifying students. Organizers say they couldn't have made this possible without the help from the community.
"The community really steps up. The donors give to this organization and also the community vendors that also show up. They provide school supplies and other information for these families. It's incredible" said Yell.
Parents like Shannon Green are thankful that their children will be prepared to learn and take on another school year with their new supplies.
"It's an awesome program I'm very thankful for it" she said.
With backpacks in hand, many students say they can't wait to go back to school.
"I'm going to 7th grade this year and school supplies can usually sometimes cost a lot of money and so I'm excited" said WFISD student Faith Bradford.
In addition to school supplies, eligible students will also be enrolled in a free and reduced lunch program offered in every WFISD school. Project Back to School received direct funding from generous individuals, sponsors and grants from the State. They use the funding to purchase school supplies from a local vendor who sells it at a low discounted rate.
According to Project Back to School, WFISD has almost 9,000 disadvantaged students currently enrolled. This year they had enough supplies for almost 5,000 students.
For more information on the organization, visit www.ProjectBacktoSchool.org .