“Back to School Bash” gives students resources to kick off school year

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Tis the season for back to school. With classes starting very soon, districts are making sure no student falls behind.

We were at two different back to school events today, one in Greece and one here in Rochester. Every parent made a comment about tight budgets and the expense of filling a book bag, saying that inflation has made buying school supplies difficult in many ways.

“Things have gone up in price so these events really help out a lot, even for single parents especially,” Catherine Hofto told us, a parent in the Greece Central School District.

Gilbert Taylor, another Greece parent, says many parents have strict budgets. “Free book bags are always a good thing with how tight everything is now a days,” Taylor said.

Monroe County Family Coalition — with support from ESL Federal Credit Union, Family First Credit Union and other community organizations — had a “Back To School Bash” over the weekend, at North Greece Road Church of Christ. It handed out 500 free backpacks to any student who needed one. And the bag wasn’t empty. It had back to school kits, a ruler, notebooks, folders and more.

“The need is because, we got over COVID right, well many families are still struggling,” Dina Johnson said, with Monroe County Family Coalition.

Johnson says Rochester can offer anything someone may need. She says it’s important to make sure it’s not a hunt.

“People don’t know about resources, I found that out through COVID, and Rochester is resource rich but many people don’t know where and who to contact,” Johnson added.

Over in the Flower City, the Rochester School District had a similar event, with a mission to extend resources and all types of support.

“We’re determined to amplify education as a community wide priority for Rochester,” Shanai Lee said, with Rochester Education Fellowship.

Not only was it a sense of relief for parents, it created excitement around learning for youth in the community. We asked some students how they felt about these events.

“They gave us book bags and there’s a bounce house that’s pretty cool,” Rochester student Brayden told us. He’s going into fourth  grade.

“It’s important because now our mom doesn’t have to buy book bags for us,” another Rochester student, Ava told us. She’s headed into third grade.

We asked Brayden and Ava what they’re most excited for headed back to class.

“Math and recess,” Brayden said laughing.

“Art. But, I like science, oh ya I like science too,” Ava said, also with a big smile.

Rochester also gave out hundreds of free backpacks filled with school supplies. Between both events, it’s easy to say thousands of students now have basic needs going into the school year.