Student Assistance lends a hand at Back To School Extravaganza

Houston Independent School District Student Assistance held a “Back To School Extravaganza” drive-thru event Friday at Bethel’s Empowerment Center.

The event featured a drive-up that included free vaccinations (including for Covid-19), backpacks, supplies, fresh produce, local vendors, giveaways, Medicaid and CHIP renewal applications, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications, and HISD Community Partnerships.

The morning started with Superintendent Millard House speaking to the community by offering encouragement before the start of school Monday.

“It is all about learning,” House said. ” People have the opportunity to hear and see and learn that support is out there, and knowing where to get that support and lean. Opportunities like this throughout the city and country are imperative to the future because everyone has a different need, and when you can all-inclusively bring those needs together you can allow for so many community members to start out on the right foot. When you have the community starting out on the right foot, it means that students have a better start to a wonderful school year.”

One of the vendors at the event was Fostering Family, which is a Houston non-profit that helps invite the community into the foster care and child welfare system, and provides resources for kinship families. Providing resources for the largest school district in Texas was a key goal for Fostering Family.

“A lot of children in the foster care system are part of the public education system,” said Fostering Family director of development and communications Megan Mark. ” We need to go where the kids are, and also want provide support to teachers, counselors, and administration that already have an incredibly intense job of being responsible for all kids.”

Cars lined up all morning, as parents and students attended to meet with vendors, and receive essential supplies before the first day of class.

“It’s a good event to give back to the community, and I think it’s a great thing to get the community involvement,”parent Erqualle Lott said.

More back-to-school drive stories:

Atherton Elementary, Reliant pair to provide back-to-school supplies

HISD Superintendent hands out backpacks at Mayor Turner’s Back to School Fest