BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — A local non-profit in the Twin Cities is making sure every student is prepared for their first day(s) of school.
The Back 2 School Alliance on Wednesday gave away free backpacks stuffed with school supplies to families in the McLean County Unit 5 Schools, as well as the Bloomington District 87.
Chair of the Back 2 School Alliance Jan Meadows said this year they prepared to hand out 4,000 bags to families.
“It can be very costly for a family. Most of our families that come through here are single-parent families trying to put things together for their kids. We have a lot of families who this is the first time need for them, and we’re happy to fill that,” Meadows said.
Meadow said they’ve seen the need increase due to the pandemic and to qualify, families must be on their schools’ free/reduced lunch program. Meadows said that’s about one-third of families in both of the districts.
She said Wednesday’s event was a one-stop-shop to get everything families need to be prepared for the first day.
“We pack them by grade level and we have all the basics; we have the pencils, we have the crayons, the markers, scissors, file folders, dividers, pads of paper, zipped binders, colored pencils, erasers, masks this year,” Meadow said.
The event is usually held indoors at the Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown, but due to COVID-19, it’s been a drive-through event for the past two years.