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HOUSTON Children in Houston s poorest neighborhoods face numerous obstacles on that path to high school and college diplomas. Church and community leaders on Sunday made sure the lack of school supplies isn t one of those obstacles.

More than 500 backpacks, each filled with school supplies, were made available to disadvantaged children in Houston s Fifth Ward at the Island of Hope Church. This is the second year the church has teamed with community leaders to make the school supplies available.

It s a blessing, said LaDonna Baker, an unemployed mother of five. A backpack goes a long way for a kid.

Baker lost her job at AT&T more than a year and a half ago and has been living on unemployment of $1,600 a month.

Living check to check. Basically if it wasn t for this program I don t know how I would have got the school supplies, said Baker.

Harris County Family Court Judge Sheri Dean was among the volunteers who donated her time and money to the backpack effort.

I would rather not see them in my court, she said of the children and their families. And I think education is the way to avoid that.

Some people can t afford it, said student Nunnie Ervin of the backpack, pencils, binders, scissors she carried home from the Backpack 2 5th Ward event. It s giving me tools to get my education in school.

The goal is to keep the kids in school and have them expect to go to college, not just dream about it.

The slogan for the event was making the community better one day and one block at a time.

Their hope is that one backpack at a time can help keep these kids moving forward too.

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