‘I love it’: Families, students gear up for new school year with donated supplies from back-to-school drive

MADISON, Wis. – Students are gearing up to go back to school, and hundreds will be able to do so with some new gear.

News 3 Now partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County for a back-to-school supply drive to counteract the rising cost of school supplies. That culminated Tuesday night in the distribution of 300 backpacks filled with school supplies for students of all ages.

Families and students could stop by any of the three Boys & Girls Club locations to pick up the backpacks and join in on activities. Snacks and pizza were also provided.

“I like getting new notebooks, too, because I can write in them more,” said Karsyn Gebhard, who will be going into the third grade. She and her brother picked out their free backpacks Tuesday evening.

Their mother, Kimberly Gebhard, praised the event’s convenience.

“A lot of times you have to go from store to store to find everything needed,” she said. “(This is) much easier.”

“It’s great, especially with three around this age. You can see it’s busy. We’re busy,” said Lesley DeVries, who brought her three young daughters. “To have this convenience and everything’s all done for us, it’s great.”

The backpacks filled with supplies can take a weight off parents’ shoulders.

“Families experiencing financial challenges at the time may have to make decisions between, ‘Do I get the school supplies my kids need or do I pay the light bill?’” said Laura Ford-Harris, chief development officer with the Boys & Girls Club. “We don’t want anyone to have to make that type of decision.”

Raniece Harrison was happy to bring four of her children, three of whom were school-aged, to a fun activity on a nice day. She also had an older daughter attending high school who was working and unable to make the event.

“I love it. I’m glad it’s right here so I won’t have to go far. I’m glad it’s right here in the neighborhood,” she said, happy to get school supplies at one stop. “I don’t have to worry about going shopping for it, so that’s a good thing.”

You can find more about the supply drive and everything you need to know about what school will look like this fall on News 3 Now’s Back to School page.