Each year, Manos de Cristo helps thousands of Central Texas children, Pre-K through 5th grade, get ready for school at its annual Back-to-School Program. The program provides each child with two free sets of new clothing, socks, underwear, and a brand new backpack filled with school supplies.
This year’s event takes place August 4 – 8 and August 11 – 15, from 8 a.m. to 12:00 noon each weekday at the North Austin Events Center, 10601 North Lamar Blvd. Families in need begin lining up as early as 2:00 a.m. for the first-come, first-served back-to-school clothing and supplies, and more than 400 community volunteers help move 200 children each day through the program. The program is sponsored in part by the Austin Junior Forum, Maximus Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, with additional support from the St. David’s Foundation and I Live Here, I Give Here.
The costs of preparing students to go back to school are beyond the reach of many low-income, working poor families in Central Texas. Children living with the stress of poverty often worry about going back to school. Having worked in elementary schools, Julie Ballesteros, Executive Director, is passionate about the program. “I have seen the consequences of children being ill-prepared for school. School supplies and other needs often are not a priority when families are faced with other living expenses. Manos wants to make sure children are ready to learn the first day of school.”