Hundreds of Oklahoma City students will receive a backpack full of school supplies six days before their start of school.
Joe Cooper Hispano is hosting its second back-to-school giveaway Friday night. Organizers are expecting another huge turnout.
Second grade student Jaylee Jones picked up a bag last year and returned to grab another this year.
Pulling out supplies ranging from notecards to pencils to construction paper, Jones said she’s excited about her return to school.
Her mom, Renay Foster, said the giveaway brings relief.
“It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing and I am very thankful,” Foster said. “It was an amazing feeling. It was joyful to be able to have stuff you actually need.”
Last year, her family was among 800 outside Joe Cooper Used Cars and Trucks.
Event organizer Alma Anguiando was pleasantly surprised by the packed parking lot.
“Oh my gosh! I just kept seeing the line wrap around the building,” Anguiando said. “I had so much joy. I can’t even explain to you.”
Anguiando had the idea in 2021 after hearing how many students go without supplies each year.
She and her nieces decided to chip in by stacking and stuffing supplies for each grade level.
They hope their labor of love will ease families' financial stress.
“A lot of families have five kids and it just becomes a big expense,” Anguiando said. “I want to help as many kids as I can so that when they go their first day, they are proud of having everything they need for the entire school year.”
She also hopes to ease the burden of teachers, like third grade teacher Chabeli Montoya.
“Even as teachers, a lot of our paycheck goes into school supplies,” Montoya said. “Before, we were looking at 25 cents for a packet of paper. Now, we’re looking at a dollar.”
Last year, Joe Cooper Hispano gave away 350 bags. After seeing the number of families that showed up for the event, Anguiando said she made the decision to increase the number to 500 this year.
When asked where she sees the event going in the future, Anguiando said she hopes it can be “as big as we can make it.”
The bags are first come, first served. The event started at 6 p.m.