BREVARD COUNTY — Students entering the new school year are facing more challenges than ever before.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents may have lost their jobs or experienced reduced hours. Back to school shopping may not be possible for many families facing these hardships, which is why the Brevard Schools Foundation is here to help.
The 18th annual “Back-to-School” giveaway will serve 2,000 students on a first-come, first-served basis. This year, the event will be offered as a drive-through service from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Aug. 8 at the Clearlake Education Center, 1225 Clearlake Road, Cocoa.
Students must be present to receive supplies and they must be a Brevard Public School student enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch program.
The Brevard Schools Foundation will offer students new backpacks, school supplies, a book kit, and dental supplies provided by the Space Coast Health Foundation.
Florida Farms will also be present to provide 42,000 pounds of fresh produce through the Farm Share program.
“What we’ve been hearing is that the CDC is recommending that no student share school supplies,” said Elizabeth Schreiber, Supply Zone program manager. “Schools are going to need individual sets of supplies for every single student.
“Over half of our students come from low-income households before the pandemic,” she continued. “With the number on the rise, we’re going to have even more students who can’t afford those basic school supplies. We need to get these individual sets to these students so we aren’t risking them by having to share supplies.”
Parents and guardians will drive through the Clearlake Education Center’s parking lot where volunteers at multiple stations will place supplies in each driver’s trunks.
Volunteers will also be required to wear a cloth facemask and they will be given cleaning supplies to sanitize their stations.
Attendees are encouraged not to arrive before 9 a.m., and the Cocoa Police Department will be on hand to assist with traffic.
“Where the event is located in Cocoa, we’re in the center of one of the highest poverty areas in the district according to the Free or Reduced Lunch map,” Ms. Schreiber said. “We’re dead center in an area that has five schools that have 100% of their students on the Free or Reduced Lunch.”
Donations are still being accepted through online registries and financial donations are being doubled by the Brevard Schools Foundation’s matching funds grant by the Consortium of Florida Education Foundation.
As a nonprofit organization, Brevard Schools Foundation fills the education funding and opportunity gaps for low-income students in areas of need.
The organization’s Take Stock in Children program pairs at-risk youth with mentors and if the student stays in school and earns good grades, they can receive a two-year Florida pre-paid scholarship.
The Supply Zone for Teachers is another program that offers free school supplies for teachers in high poverty schools.
For more information, visit www.brevardschoolsfoundation.org/reopening-schools-virtual-supply-drive.