Alachua County's back to school bashes provide free backpacks

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)- In Alachua County, kids are scrambling to find the essentials they need to go back to school.

“I thought I wasn’t gonna get a backpack this year, I was like struggling trying to get a bag. But now I’m so excited because it matches the color of my shoes, it’s blue,” said Zacarious Kitchens, an incoming 8th grade student at Kanapaha Middle School.

Back-to-school events around the county are focusing on relieving some financial strain.

“You see single moms you see the fact that you have low income families so what we want to do is to give back do what we can to help. The good thing about it is we had a lot of support from the community,” said Michael Cox, Executive Director of Black Men United.

Backpack 2 Success is an event co-hosted by Black Men United, Indivisible Gainesville and UF’s chapter of L.A.D.I.E.S.

Through free school supplies, haircuts, and nearly 200 free backpacks, the event is bringing smiles to faces.

“I’m a single mother myself so it’s really hard to prepare," said Theresa Grant.

Backpacks 2 Success is only one of the events in town aiming to ease the transition to a new school year.

“I’m just happy about the event. it really shows that Gainesville is really generous with all the book bag drives going on. It just really shows that Gainesville cares about the community,” said Tavarous Parks, Job Training and Entrepreneurship Director for Gainesville Housing Authority.

The Gainesville Housing Authority partnered up with Church Of Christ and the alumni chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity for their very first back to school bash.

There were goodie bags, free food, and backpacks to help families preparing for school.

“I just want to go back to school to see my friends and get this work done,” said Kitchens.

Back packs are zipped and eager faces are ready to step back into the classroom.