The first day of school is coming up soon, and this year's going to be different. One thing that's still pretty familiar: the long lists and price tags for back-to-school shopping.
However, school supplies are among the many shortages that happened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To get students ready for the new school year, local officials are hosting events to give out free school supplies.
See the full list below.
Saturday, Aug. 7
Aldine ISD will have its 6th annual Back to School Expo. It's a free drive-thru event for families in the district to pick up free backpacks and supplies. If you register in advance, you or your student can also receive a COVID-19 vaccine or other vaccinations. The even will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Location: M.O. Campbell Education Center, 1865 Aldine Bender Road, Houston, TX 77032
To get a backpack and/or vaccines, you should go through the entrance on Aldine Meadows Road (behind Thorne Stadium).
The Houston Police Department will distribute over 1,500 backpacks filled with supplies. It's a first-come, first-serve drive-thru distribution, and parents must bring their kids to get the backpacks. As you drive through the parking, you'll see the Houston Astros Shooting Stars, HPD Patrol horses, an HPD display helicopter, and more. The giveaway starts at 9 a.m.
Location: HPD Southwest Patrol Division, 8300 Mykawa Rd, Houston, TX 77048
The Alliance and PlazAmericas are co-hosting a Back to School Drive on Saturday. Their event starts at 9:30 a.m. and will continue while supplies last. Last year, they gave out free essential supplies and children immunizations to more than 3,000 students.
Location: PlazAmericas Mall, 7500 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, TX 77036
Stafford MSD is inviting the community to its "We Are One" Party on the Plaza. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the school district is celebrating their return to in-person learning. The event will provide school supplies, backpacks, COVID vaccinations and flu shots in addition to their food, games, and prizes. Activities with school supplies are for enrolled students only. The event is free, but you can register in advance.
Location: Stafford MSD Educational Plaza, 1633 Staffordshire Rd, Stafford, TX 77477
Sunday, Aug. 8
GMADE Clothing is having a Back to School Bash in Southwest Houston. In addition to school supplies and a backpack giveaway, they'll have food, drinks, games, and bounce houses. The event will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: 12329 Fondren Rd, Houston, TX 77035
Monday, Aug. 9
The Community Back 2 School Giveaway is co-hosted by Harris County Public Health and several Black business owners. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the owners will offer free supplies and haircuts while conducting a raffle for a Chromebook. HCPH's Outreach Team will provide care kits and the opportunity for kids and parents to get a shot of the Pfizer COVID vaccine.
Location: Showtime Bar and Lounge, 12706 North Freeway, Houston, TX 77060
Tuesday, Aug. 10
Rapper Slim Thug and the BossLife Foundation are working with Checker's to provide free school supplies. They'll also have backpacks, discounted meals and gifts. Attendees can also meet Slim Thug himself. The event will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Checker's, 11 Uvalde Road Houston, TX 77015
Thursday, Aug. 12
Congressman Al Green is co-hosting a "Green Light to Healthy Living Drive-Thru Back-to-School Kickoff." He's teaming up with Westbury High School and Community Health Choice. The first 500 students will get a backpack with free school supplies. Everyone that shows up will have the opportunity to get prizes, a COVID vaccine and/or test, and free vouchers for immunizations & eye exams. The event will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Location: Westbury High School, 11911 Chimney Rock Road, Houston, TX 77035
Friday, Aug. 13
Rep. Ron Reynolds and The American Caribbean Chamber of Commerce is having their 2nd Annual Mega Back to School Fest. This year, they're co-hosting a walk-up festival with Houston Community College. Students can pick up a backpack and school supplies along with food for their family. The festival will also provide free COVID-19 testing and vouchers (for haircuts, children's immunizations, etc.). Registration is recommended for this event, and masks are mandatory. It starts at 5:30 p.m.
Location: Houston Community College Stafford, 10041 Cash Road, Stafford, TX 77477
Saturday, Aug. 14
Mayor Sylvester Turner is partnering with Shell Oil Company and the Houston Food Bank for the 11th Annual Mayor's Back to School Fest. This year's event will be a drive-thru distribution due to the pandemic. Volunteers will give out 25,000 backpacks filled with school supplies and face masks. Those supplies will be for students going to the 5th grade or lower. The distribution also includes boxes of food available for all families, no matter what grade your student is going to. The drive-thru starts at 8 a.m. and will continue while supplies last. It's recommended that you register your student(s) in advance.
Location: NRG Park - Yellow Lot (the entrance will be on Main St. at gate 16)
BakerRipley is partnering with other Houston organizations to hand out school supplies during its Back to School Health Fair. They'll also provide health screenings, info sessions, and COVID vaccines for children and adults. The fair will run from 8 a.m to noon.
Location: BakerRipley Gulfton Sharpstown Campus, 6500 Rookin Street, Houston, TX 77074
Foundation 45 Mitsubishi will hold a Back to School Backpack & School Supply Drive-Thru. From 9 a.m. to noon, local sponsors are providing backpacks filled with supplies. Your children have to be with you to get their free supplies. For more information, to volunteer, or to donate, click here.
Location: Foundation 45 Mitsubishi, 16210 North Freeway, Houston, TX 77090
Carter's Community Youth Foundation and Youth Impact with Tyler & Taylor will have a Back to School Giveaway. This is the 3rd annual distribution for the foundation. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the drive-thru will provide free backpacks, free supplies, food, and drinks for kids. Adults will have to purchase their food.
Location: Carters Foundation Headquarters, 9894 Bissonnet Street, Houston, TX 77036
Houston Councilmember Carolyn Evans-Shabazz is holding her annual school supply distribution from 10 a.m. to noon. District D has enough supplies for more than 500 students this school year. The giveaway will be a drive-thru event, and students must be present to get their supplies.
Location: Sunnyside Park, 3502 Bellfort Avenue, Houston, TX 77051
Houston Police's Midwest Patrol Division will have their 3rd Annual Back 2 School Bash from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Division will provide free backpacks and school supply, in addition to food and live music at the event. You can also take photos with a K-9 and a HPD Helicopter.
The Office of Constable Silvia Trevino (Harris County Precinct 6) is hosting a drive-thru Back 2 School Cool Down event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They'll have backpacks, school supplies, and more while supplies last. Students must be present.
Location: Precinct 6 Constable's Office Parking Lot, 5900 Canal Street, Houston, TX 77011
Walmart's Back-to-School Rallies
Families are invited to Walmart's "Here We Go" back-to-school rallies. Select stores will provide bags filled with free school samples. Students can also practice their "First Day of School" photos at their photo wall. Each of the following events will happen from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 28
Local clothing line Love Vs Pain will host their first Back 2 School Party from noon to 4 p.m. They'll have backpacks and school supplies available, in addition to free food and drinks.
Location: Hutcheson Park, 5400 Lockwood Drive, Houston, TX 77026
If you'd like to add another school supply event to our list, please email the information to email@example.com.