Green, pink, red and black backpacks towered in the corner of the gymnasium at First United Methodist Church in Victoria for children to choose from at the Back 2 School Community Resource and School Supply Fair.
The resource supply fair, put on by Driscoll Health Plan in partnership with Texas Area Health Education Centers East and Victoria College, hosted a variety of community vendors whose services were available to the attendees at little to no cost.
Jenessa Trebatoski, the community outreach coordinator for Driscoll Health Plan, organized the back-to-school fair.
“A lot of people aren’t familiar with these services, so we like to host events a couple times a year to show what is available,” Trebatoski said. “And since it’s back-to-school, we wanted to make sure those kiddos were ready for school and provide them with a backpack and school supplies.”
The fair, which is held annually and is in its second year, had 800 backpacks on hand, and more than 200 of them were gone within the first hour.
“We amped it up this year because last year, we only came with 300 backpacks and the event was over within the first hour because we ran out of all supplies,” Trebatoski said.
All the vendors present, such as the Victoria school district, the Education Service Center and Early Childhood Intervention, donated school supplies for the event.
“I used to be a teacher, and you’d be surprised how many kids show up for the first day of school with nothing,” Trebatoski said. “And it’s not because the parents are being negligent or anything of that nature; it’s just parents don’t always have the means.”
Trebatoski said the second year of the supply fair was such a success that there will likely be a third.
“This gives those parents that aren’t able to make those ends meet the opportunity to have their children start off on the same slate as everyone else, and they feel like they’re still able to provide for their children,” Trebatoski said. “And they are because they’re going out of their way to come here today.”