Back to school 2022: Hundreds of Philadelphia kids receive free school supplies during weekend giveaway

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Students across Philadelphia received back-to-school materials Saturday as both the school district and community organizations hosted giveaways.

The Philadelphia School District says it gave away nearly 10,000 backpacks on its bus tour. The last stop was the School of the Future at Fairmount Park on Saturday.

“I have ice cream, a book bag, books, a pretzel,” said Zahra Potter, who is in second grade.

Potter and her siblings all chose different colored backpacks at the event.

“We definitely wanted to come out and support our families, take the pressure off a little bit and take some of that burden off,” said Adam Northam, the district’s director of internal communications.

The event also allowed families to find resources and plan vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Families also had fun with games, food and face painting.

“I think that’s a great idea because our kids want something new to come to school, you know? They don’t want last year’s stuff,” said Sabrina Bertha, a grandma in Parkside.

The event also saves families money in the face of inflation.

That’s why the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church congregation in East Mount Airy held their own back-to-school drive.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a church to raise a village,” said Pastor Alyn Waller.

He says the church bought the backpacks and the congregation filled them with supplies.

“We know we need to send a student into the school who is mentally prepared, who has resources and who is emotionally ready for the educational process,” he said.

Families also gathered at the Scanlon Rec Center in Kensington for a similar event on Saturday. Kids could grab one of 700 free backpacks and fill them with supplies too.

Children at events across the city said they were looking forward to school.

“You see everyone and that makes everyone happy,” said 5th grade student Khalid Esmael.

As the Philadelphia School District equipped the children, the recruiters also worked to fill the classrooms.

A little over a week before the start of the year, the district still has about 200 teaching positions open.

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