FORT WORTH, Texas — Thousands of Tarrant County students received free school supplies Friday during the annual Back to School Roundup event.
"We approved 1,536 families to come through here, with a total of about 5,600 school supplies (to give away)," Chris Zimmer said.
Zimmer is the President of the Board of Trustees for the Tarrant County Back to School Roundup.
Families had to pre-register for 16th annual event. Organizers said close to 500 cars were lined up early Friday morning at Tarrant County College.
“In years past, we’ve done everything, (including) haircuts – all the things that go with going back to school,” Zimmer said. “But of course, since COVID-19, this year we’re only focusing on school supplies.”
Due to the pandemic, the annual event became a drive-thru, with volunteers loading school supplies, backpacks, and other items into peoples’ cars.
“We usually have about 150 sponsors who come out and share different social services that are available to these families,” Zimmer said. “(So instead,) all of those social services sent us brochures and stuff to give the families.”
Even though this event is special every year, Zimmer believes this year is extra meaningful.
“We’re taking that one little thing off of their plate that they have to worry about,” Zimmer said.
"School supplies can run anywhere from $100-$200 for some of these families. And even more if you have multiple children. And so, for us to be able to take that off their plates, especially during this time, when a lot of these families are worried about how they’re going to put the next meal on the table because mom and dad both lost their jobs because of COVID-19, we just think that we’re doing something that’s going to help them along the way," Zimmer said.