It is back-to-school time in the Houston area, and as mayor, I am working with our partners to ensure that all children achieve their highest potential in the classroom this year.

On Saturday, August 14, I hosted the 11th annual Mayor’s Back to School Fest Presented by Shell.

The event is designed to help economically disadvantaged Houston-area elementary school students and their families. The 2020-2021 school year was filled with much uncertainty. While we are returning to a new normal, Houston area families, continue to try and find steady ground. There is still a critical need for assistance with students’ basic school supplies, food, and personal protection equipment. The Mayor’s Back to School Fest Presented by Shell helped to fill in these gaps.

Together with an army of community volunteers, we distributed 25,000 backpacks to families. We filled each bag with pencils, pens, notebooks, crayons, and many other tools for learning. Houston ISD’s new superintendent Millard House also assisted with the distribution.

Many Houston families cannot afford school supplies, and the challenges are more significant this year because of the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I thank our sponsors for stepping up to the plate to help. Due to their generosity, thousands of kids will have the tools they need to start the school year successfully.

Each family received a box of healthy food items provided by the Houston Food Bank.

Finally, we also distributed face masks and provided a drive-through vaccination site to help children and educators stay healthy as they return to school at a time with the COVID-19 delta variant is spreading in our community.

I want to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

I also wish every child a happy and safe school year.