Students at a Longview ISD elementary campus will benefit this weekend and throughout the school year from an annual community project.
The Alpha Zeta Sigma graduate chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is a nonprofit organization based in Tyler. Each year, the chapter adopts a school, said chapter member Steven Reese. This year, it chose J.L. Everhart Elementary School, and a backpack school supply drive is set Saturday.
"We adopt a school during the summer, and during that time, we do stuff for the school (like) have back-to-school drives," Reese said. "We provide it all free to the students of the school, then during the holidays, we raise turkeys and hams for the families (and) during December we have a toy drive..."
He said this will be the first time the organization has held its annual project in Longview. Reese said Thursday that the group had collected more than 200 backpacks and a large assortment of school supplies.
The backpack school drive is scheduled 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at J.L. Everhart at 2919 Tryon Road and is only open to students who are set to attend the campus this school year.
Food, drinks and snacks will be handed out at the event, and vendors also will be onsite, Reese said. Along with treats, blood pressure checks and free haircuts also will be offered.
With rising inflation, Reese said it is important to do something positive for families who may be struggling to make ends meet and can only afford to buy the essentials.
"We had a big turnout from donations, (and) the community feedback has been very overwhelming so we're very excited," Reese said.
Other school supply drives are scheduled in Longview:
New Beginnings Church: A back-to-school bash with free backpacks, school supplies and haircuts is set 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 2137 E George Richey Road in Longview and at 1977 Texas 155 N. in Gilmer. Families must sign up at tinyurl.com/4xw52y25 with information of needed services before the event.
Anderson Family and Rosewood Memorial Funeral Home: The Anderson Family has set its second annual Back to School Bash and School Supply Drive starting at 3 p.m. Saturday at Teague Park in Longview. Backpacks and school supplies will be handed as long as supplies last. The event is set to have free food, face painting, music, games, door prizes and and local vendors. To donate, contact Rosewood Memorial Funeral Home at (903) 757-7673.
Lundgren Insurance Agency: The agency at 801 N Fredonia St. will donate school supplies to more than 3,000 students in the area and is requesting donations be dropped off 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
ER Tax Preparation Services: School supplies will be given away noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 13 at 103 Margo St.
New Beginning Faith Ministry: The ministry at 609 Caddo St. (across from Broughton Park) has set its 22nd annual Back-To-School Parking Lot Giveaway from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 13. Fully stocked backpacks, food and drinks will be available for free. The event will double as a health fair and is set to provide services such as free haircuts, clothing, shoes and more. Children must be present, and proof of enrollment is required.