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FORTWORTH - Thousands of parents lined up with their children outside Will Rogers Memorial Center Wednesday in Fort Worth as the county handed out school supplies to children in need.

Officials were expecting 25,000 people to attend the 9th Annual Tarrant County Back to School Roundup, which provides free school supplies and backpacks for students.

Among the services offered to families were immunizations, dental and vision screenings.

According to the Census Bureau, 23.8 percent of youth in Tarrant County live in poverty. County Commissioner Roy C. Brooks said Wednesday's effort is a step in towards helping children rise from poverty.

"Education is the path out of poverty," he said. "It's like the old commercial, 'You can pay me now or you can pay me later.' We can give these kids a chance at a good education and have good opportunities to give them successful lives."

The event is funded by private donations and in-kind contributions. Organizers were planning to hand out 10,000 school supply packets to pre-K through 12th grade students. Students in pre-K through 5th grade also received free backpacks. Families that received items and services pre-registered for the event.

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