school supply drives

Summer might still be in full swing, but that doesn’t mean that preparations for the 2017 school year aren’t well underway. When we think of back-to-school time, we often picture new backpacks with matching lunch boxes, sharpened pencils, and the crisp smell of notebook paper. For many Austin children, however, this is far from their reality. Did you know that 157,000 Central Texas students are considered low income and therefore unable to afford school supplies? These very same families struggle to feed and clothe their children — providing them with backpacks and pens is therefore next to impossible. 

When students are unable to afford supplies, it is often teachers who make up the financial difference. Many classroom materials and supplies are purchased out of pocket throughout the school year, often adding up to hundreds of dollars. If you would like to donate monetarily or purchase school supplies for children in need around Austin, here are some great ways to do so:

  1. Consider donating to For The Children, a nonprofit organization that provides school supplies to children in the Central Texas area. Did you know that last year, they raised $169,363 for kids in need? This provided school supplies to 56,180 elementary children! Let’s help them reach their goal this year — you can donate here
  2. Give directly to a school. Call the school of your choice around mid August and ask if you can donate supplies directly to the school for students in need. You can even ask which particular supplies would most benefit them. 
  3. Donate supplies to one of the drives around Central Texas that are accepting backpacks, school supplies, and more.

Here is a list of school supply drives, as well as their locations and more information: 

Back to School Bash — Austin ISD

On August 12, 2017, Austin ISD will be collaborating with the city of Austin to host its annual Back to School Bash and Safety Fair from 9AM-12PM. This event will be held at the Palmer Events Center, where free backpacks filled with school supplies will also be given to students while supplies last. Learn more here

Back to School Bash — Bastrop ISD

On August 12, 2017, Bastrop ISD will also be providing backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need. The event will be held at the BISD Memorial Stadium in Cedar Creek. Students will first be presented with supplies through Stuff the Bus at 8AM, and the Back to School Bash will last through 10:30AM. For more information about donating supplies, click here to see the list of accepted locations and dates. 

CASA of Travis County

You can donate supplies from now through August 4, 2017, including backpacks, school supplies, and gift cards. Bring all donations to 7701 N Lamar Blvd. Suite 301 Austin, TX 78752. You can also donate financially here

Communities in Schools of Central Texas

Donate here to provide a student in need with a backpack and supplies. You can also drop off donations Monday-Friday between now and July 31st to the CIS Central Office, located at 3000 South IH-35, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78704. Donations are open between the hours of 830AM-530PM. 

Foundation Communities

Donate by dropping off backpacks, markers, glue, pencils, rulers, and more to the Community Financial Center located at 2600 West Stassney Austin, TX 78745 on Friday July 28, 2017 between 9AM-5PM. 

Manos de Cristo

Donate to the Manos de Cristo back to school program here — just $60 gives a child in need two sets of clothing, socks, underwear, and a new backpack filled with supplies. Here is the drive info for those in need: 

When: July 24-27, 2017 from 8AM-2P; July 28, 2017 from 8AM-11AM (or while supplies last)

Where: Allan Center, 4900 Gonzales St. Austin, TX 78702

Round Rock Partners in Education

You can adopt a student by donating here — $10 ensures that your student can be given adequate supplies. Supplies will be given to students in need on August 20th at Hernandez Middle School from 10AM-6PM. Students can also receive a free haircut, food, and other wellness checks.

SafePlace Back to School Drive

Donations are currently being accepted through August 21, 2017. You can donate directly to their donation warehouse or directly to them from their Amazon wish list

If you’re unable to donate financially but would still like to help, consider volunteering and donating your time. Most of these drives are currently accepting volunteers both to help with the drive, itself, as well as to help kids in need year round. 

Are you in need of free school supplies for your child? Contact your school directly to see which programs are in place to help you. You can also call 2-1-1 on your phone to help connect you to someone in your area who can help. 

Do you know of any other drives for children in need? Please share them with us!

Jessica Rockowitz
Jessica is a Boston girl turned Austinite as of 2016. She is a wife to Kyle and mama to Hayley, Colin, and Graham. Though she misses many things about the East Coast, she absolutely cannot complain about the active, taco-infused lifestyle of Texas. She is a former OB/GYN Nurse Educator turned digital media agency owner and lifestyle photographer. When she's not busy behind the lens, you can catch her caffeinating, desperately trying to find a cheer carpool, and obsessing over microfashion. Follow her over at


  1. This is so important, so many kids out there need not only school supplies, but some need food and as well. Thank you for sharing this! Such an important back to school thing no-one tends to think about.


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