SAN ANGELO, Texas — It may be hard to believe, but the start of the school year is right around the corner.
To help students prepare to go back to the classroom, La Esperanza Clinic is teaming up with other nonprofits and local businesses to provide those students with much-needed items for the new school year.
According to the Texas Education Agency, statewide the number of economically-disadvantaged students increased from the 2019-2020 school year to the 2020-2021 school year. With 43.9 percent eligible for free or reduced lunches statewide in 2020. The San Angelo Independent School District reported that the percentage of its students was 48.95, placing the district higher than the statewide average.
Every year for the last 16 years, La Esperanza Clinic celebrates National Health Center Week by distributing backpacks to those in need.
"It's just our time to get out in the community. We do lots of events, but this is our big one. It's fun, and it just helps people get ready for back to school and offset the cost a little bit," Norma Lee, La Esperanza's director of outreach, said.
The health organization is partnering with Sunset Mall, Amerigroup, Chick-fil-A, 2-1-1 Texas, and the Concho Valley Regional Food Bank for the event.
For nonprofits like the food bank, this is not the first time partnering for this event.
"I think what a better partnership they're going to be providing to students in San Angelo with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom," Susan Gober, CVRFB development director, said.
The food bank will provide nutrition, including a box of shelf-stable foods, along with frozen proteins and fresh produce.
Anyone interested in helping them pack those boxes can call 325-655-3231 to volunteer.
The backpack event is completely free and will be from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at Sunset Mall, 4001 Sunset Drive. The first 300 backpacks will be distributed to students accompanied by an adult.