STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Back to School Blast may be over two weeks away, but board members are hard at work preparing for the more than 2,000 backpacks that will be handed out to students at Marble Falls and Llano Independent School Districts.
The Llano Independent School District event is from 9 AM-noon Saturday, July 27, at Packsaddle Elementary School Gym, 150 Pioneer Lane in Kingsland.
Families of the Marble Falls Independent School District can go to Marble Falls Middle School, 1511 Pony Circle Drive, from 9 AM-noon on Saturday, August 3.
Though the events are held in the two school districts, officials don’t turn anyone away.
Organizers could use a little extra helping raising money for the Marble Falls event.
Back to School Blast board president Jennifer Hall recalled giving a speech two years ago about the importance of the event. She noted the average cost of one filled backpack is $122 based on prices from department stores.
When calculating the fees of the health and dental screenings, haircuts, and other services if families had to pay for them for each child, Hall estimated the annual event is valued at $500,000.
“Every dollar you give us we multiply by 10,” she concluded. “That’s how much we’re able to give back. For several families, it’s a huge burden (getting ready for back to school).”
Backpacks are assembled according to school supply lists from each school district for each grade from pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade. Each child will receive a pair of new shoes and socks as well.
While everything is given on a first-come-first-served basis, Hall emphasized neither event has ever run out of backpacks or shoes.
Organizers of the Llano event have all they need for their 600 backpacks, but Hall noted the Marble Falls event is asking for $25 tax-deductible donations to ensure they have 1,500 backpacks on hand.
So far they’ve raised $5,000.
Hall said board members are hoping donors will step up to help.
“We’ve been scrambling to get as much money as we can,” she said.
The organization has its 501(c)3 status, so donations are tax deductible.
Back to School Blast started nine years ago in the Marble Falls area, but expanded last year to LISD at the Kingsland campus.
If teachers find they have students in their classes without school supplies, the educators often dig into their own pockets to cover the material.
Hall noted many teachers have had to do this less and less since Back to School Blast started.
Save the World Brewery Co., 1510 Resource Parkway in Marble Falls, is hosting the Empty Shoe BOX drive from 1-6 PM Saturday, July 20. Patrons are asked to bring empty shoe boxes that Back to School Blast officials can use to put new shoes in for students. The tip jar money on that day will also go to Back to School Blast.
Volunteers are also needed to unpack school supplies, organize shoes, monitor bounce house, serve as Spanish translators, comb through hair before haircuts, runners, door directors, and the clean-up crew. Go to www.b2sb.info, click on the city you want to volunteer in, then click on volunteers to sign up.