Tania Maldonado did not have any time to lose.

She packed her four children inside the family van Saturday morning and could only afford to put enough gas into the vehicle to travel to a free school supplies drive-by event and back home. She has three children in the Galena Park school district and said she’s grateful for the supplies. 

Maldonado’s not alone as the event at Galena Park Resource and Training Center in east Houston served 95 families and 230 children. CapitalOne Bank found that back-to-school supplies cost $661 per child in K-12 last year, according to a Feb. 9 back-to-school shopping statistics report. Additionally, to afford increased prices, 38 percent of shoppers reported that they cut down on spending in other areas. 

For Rosa Rojas, another parent at the district, the free supplies saves her from spending more money out of her own pocket. 

“It helps me plan ahead on what we need since everything has already gone up [in pricing],” Rojas said. 

As summer break comes to a close, many districts, churches and organizations will host events for families to receive free school supplies. Additionally, the annual statewide tax-free weekend kicks off Friday and runs through Sunday. Parents can save money on back-to-school supplies if needed. 

Across the region, the events will allow parents to learn more about the schools their children will attend, receive free school supplies while they last and even free haircuts in certain school districts.

“We’re there for the parents to welcome them and to really make this process go much smoother,” Siria Zelada, family engagement specialist at Spring ISD, said about the district’s upcoming Back to School Expo. “We want the first day of school to be about dropping off your kids, maybe going inside, taking them to their class, taking a picture for the first day of school. We don’t want it to be a chaotic first day.”

Here’s an interactive map of resources for school supplies from Galveston to Spring.

Here’s the full list of events:. 

  • Back 2 School Event – Channelview ISD: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 12 at Bill Neal Center, 828 Sheldon Road. Children must be present to receive free backpacks with supplies. 
  • Back 2 School MegaFest – American Caribbean Chamber of Commerce: 5:30-8 p.m. Aug. 11 at Landmark Community Center, 100 Louisiana St, Missouri City.
  • Annual Teen Nation Back to School Health and Wellness Jam-fest – Cam Agency: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20 at World Harvest Outreach SDA Church; 10800 Scott St, Houston.
  • Third Ward Back 2 School Block Party – Grooves of Houston: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 20 at 2300 Pierce St, Houston.
  • Civic Heart and Black Shear Elementary School will host the Children’s Health Day Backpack Drive Thru from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 11 at 2900 Holman St., Houston.
  • Civic Heart will host the 23rd Annual Children’s Health Day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Almeda Mall at 12200 Gulf Freeway.
  • The University of Houston’s Family Care Center will host a back to school block party from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 12 at 4349 Martin Luther King Blvd., Houston. Free backpacks and school supplies will be available for the first 150 K-12 students who arrive.

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Angelica Perez is a civic engagement reporter for the Houston Landing. A Houston native, she is excited to return to the city after interning at The Dallas Morning News as a breaking news intern in the...