Sacred Heart Community Service is expected to help thousands of children at its annual school supply event in San Jose on Friday.
The nonprofit organization is opening its doors to 3,000 children, who will be able to select a new backpack filled with school supplies for the upcoming school year, community engagement manager Morgan Wordes said.
The distribution will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the nonprofit's center at 1381 S. First St. in San Jose.
Sacred Heart has been holding the "Pack-A-Back" program for a little over 10 years to help children from low-income families, Wordes said.
The children's parents lined up outside of the nonprofit's center last month to register for the event, Wordes said.
The first person in line to register got there at 2 a.m. to make sure her children received backpacks, according to Wordes.
Another woman said she had been on 12 affordable housing lists was also in line early last month to help her children and make ends meet, Wordes said.
The nonprofit fills the backpacks with the average supplies listed on local school supply lists, she said.
The backpacks are compiled based on age. Older students will receive items such as USB drives and scientific calculators while younger students receive more crafty supplies such as jumbo crayons, Wordes said.
Hundreds of local corporations, faith communities and other organizations and individuals donate supplies for the backpacks, Wordes said.
Just a few years ago, the nonprofit was giving out 1,500 backpacks but doubled the number due to the increase of needy families struggling to support their children, she said.
Sacred Heart generally tries to give a gift card for school shoes for each student but ran short this year and will only give one per family, according to Wordes.
The event has helped children become excited to go back to school and is almost like a Christmas in August, Wordes said.
"Even though the economy has been improving, with rents skyrocketing it's been really hard for families to get by on a monthly budget so this program provides extra support," Wordes said.