More than 700 kids passed through the Community Services League Center in Independence, Missouri on Saturday. Throughout the area, the six Community Services League Centers combined expected about 3,000 kids.
In preparation for the upcoming school year, families spent the day collecting everything from new shoes to backpacks full of school supplies.
“It’s helpful to me and my kids,” said Gayla Shamp, who arrived to gear her kids up for the school year.
Shamp’s son Vincent is heading into the 5th grade this year and her daughter Alma is starting 4th grade.
The single mom says she is on a fixed income, which makes this time of year very stressful.
“It’s a lot of money when you are on a fixed income,” said Shamp.
Fixed income or not, a new school year is not cheap.
“It’s just really expensive to go back to school,” said Doug Cowan, president of Community Services League.
Cowan says the biggest need for families at this time of year is not just pencils or paper, it’s simply having the financial means to get their kids ready for school.
“You’re talking new supplies, clothes, new shoes, sports physicals and other fees,” said Cowan.
The center hopes to help offset those fees by making the back to school event a one stop shop, everything from physicals to library cards.
Kansas City Public Schools Education Foundation held a similar event.
“We provide a whole host of services that serve the entire family, not just the student when they show up on the first day of school,” said Nicole Collierwhite with the Kansas City Public Schools Education Foundation.
For moms like Shamp, these events make it possible to afford to send her kids to school and for her kids to feel confident going in.
“They’re thankful when they get this stuff,” said Shamp.