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Local church gives away hundreds of backpacks in Dallas to families in need

At least 800 kids got brand new backpacks for school at the event.

DALLAS — At the start of yet another big week where thousands of kids will be going back to school across North Texas, a local church in South Dallas made it their mission to help kids and their families make it a smooth transition, all while thousands of parents are feeling anxious about sending their kids back in a classroom setting.

“I could breathe real good in it,” 14-year-old Tayshaun Mitchell said of his mask.

Tayshaun's first day of 9th grade at Madison High School in Dallas will be on Monday.

He doesn’t want to bring the virus home to his parents because they’re unvaccinated.

“If one of us bring it home, we will have to quarantine,” Tayshaun said.

And that will take away from schoolwork, where he strives to be an NBA basketball player one day.

“Work hard and get good grades,” Tayshaun said.

While Tayshaun isn’t vaccinated yet, he wants to be back in person, learning.

 “Seeing my baby on the ventilator, I’m more concerned about him than I am about me,” said his mother Latrina Mitchell.

Mitchell is terrified of the Delta variant.

“I have a quarantine station, so when he leaves, I take his temperature,” Mitchell said.

And, she even has a system going at home.

“Before he hits that door, it's 'Take off your clothes,' I’m being safe,” Mitchell said. “I say 'God, he’s in your hands now. [That's] all I can do." 

This is where our story takes us to this weekend’s backpack giveaway at Cornerstone Baptist Church in South Dallas.

“As individuals were waiting in line, we encouraged them to mask up,” Cornerstone Baptist Church Pastor Chris Simmons said. 

At least 800 kids got brand new backpacks for school at the event.

“We are in a neighborhood where the average income is about $16,000 a year,” said Simmons.

Many of these kids are being raised by their grandparents, which is a challenge, because many of them kids are under 12, and not eligible to get vaccinated.

Simmons said the South Dallas neighborhood is still seeing a lot of vaccine hesitancy. So, every Sunday morning, during church service, the top conversation is why everyone should get vaccinated.

“We encourage people, you have to make a choice between getting vaccinated or possibly on a ventilator,” Simmons said.