Two nonprofit organizations serving families are seeking donations for their back-to-school programs that supply local students with backpacks and school supplies.

Solidarity Sandy Springs and the Community Assistance Center expect to hand out school supplies to nearly 2,000 students.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis also will hand out school supplies.

A CAC volunteer helps fill backpacks with school supplies for clients’ children. (Submitted)

Community Assistance Center serves clients’ children

The Community Assistance Center (CAC) serves low-income residents of Sandy Springs and the Dunwoody area, plus the area of Doraville served by Dunwoody schools. Low-income families who are in need can apply to ask for services, CAC Youth Programs Coordinator Christina Kennett said.

The majority of those clients have children in public schools, she said.

“So the Tools for School program provides a backpack, including the supplies relevant for the grade,” she said. “Also, we provide free backpacks to the children of those clients.”

The backpacks are filled with supplies for the relevant grade in four classifications: from pre-K to grade one, grade two to grade five, middle school bag and high school. The contents are a little bit different, and the backpacks are a bit bigger for high school students, she said.

CAC’s client base is invited to register their children for the Tools for School program starting at the end of the previous school year. Flyers are sent to local schools and clients with children are contacted to register.

The organization distributes the backpacks to the families at the end of July usually on three or four distribution days at locations around the area, Kennett said.

Monetary donations enable CAC to make bulk purchases of supplies.

“But we also rely heavily on corporations and church groups and individuals to also bring us supplies,” she said. “We have lots of people who kindly donate.”

CAC also relies on volunteers to pack 1,000 backpacks during a week in the middle of July. About half of the backpacks are for elementary school, with the reset split between middle and high school. Many families have children in all age groups.

Donations can be brought to CAC’s offices at 1130 Hightower Trail or via the CAC Upscale Thrift store at 8607 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.

Kennett said monetary donations also can be made through the CAC website.

The organization also needs volunteers to pack the backpacks.

“Individuals, and again, companies and groups, are also welcome to volunteer time,” she said. “We rely very heavily on volunteer time.”

Solidarity Sandy Springs serves nearby families

Solidarity Sandy Springs serves a population that’s primarily Latino that lives in a two-mile radius of its location, Board Chair Natalie Holloway said.

At last year’s event, the nonprofit organization gave away 1,100 backpacks full of supplies. Most of the students who got backpacks attend Lake Forest Elementary, Ridgeview Charter Middle School or Riverwood High School, she said.

The community can help in a multitude of ways, she said.

“We have volunteer opportunities for all ages that include purchasing materials, sorting the materials and inventorying them and then actually assembling the backpacks once we have everything in hand,” Holloway said.

All of the signups are on the Solidarity Sandy Springs website. Backpack distribution will be on July 31.

“I think that it’s important to know that for many of these kids, they’ve never had a brand new backpack, and they’ve never had brand new supplies,” she said. “To see the joy in their faces last year was quite remarkable when they were able to actually walk through the line and pick up the backpack that they liked, and open it and have what they needed to effectively be able to start the school year.”

Many families can go out and purchase school supplies their children need, she said. But for these kids, that’s not always the case.

Families started lining up as much as three hours before last year’s event started, she said. They had a DJ on-site and some treats. Some school representatives were on hand to connect with parents.

People who wish to donate can sign up online to bring supplies. If they can’t go shopping, they can donate funds or shop from home via the Amazon Wishlist.

Those wishing to volunteer for a sorting, packing or giveaway day also can sign up online.

All supplies are needed by July 16.

Fulton DA giving out backpacks Saturday

The office of Fulton District Attorney Fani T. Willis will hand out book bags and school supplies from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, at the Pavilion at Morgan Falls, 450 Morgan Falls Place, in Sandy Springs.

Supplies will be given to children in elementary, middle and high schools while supplies last, according to her Instagram post.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.