Some 1,200 backpacks and school supplies were distributed to Northwest ISD on Saturday ahead of the new school year.
The backpacks and supplies were donated by Galderma, a dermatology company. Their North American headquarters are based in Fort Worth.
Shannon Iwaniuk is the company’s director of communications.
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“We were super excited that we had the most number of employees sponsoring backpacks this year than ever before,” Iwaniuk said. “Galderma employees have already committed to serving this district and the families who are in need. This year, we know the need is greater than ever before.”
Northwest ISD serves about 26,000 students and between 5,000 and 6,000 students may be living on or below the federal poverty level, according to district superintendent Ryder Warren, Ph.D.
Cars wrapped around Hatfield Elementary School on Saturday morning.
“There may be more families who, because of the economic shutdown…there might be families who didn’t rise to this need, who may have this need now,” Warren said. “That also tells me folks are still stepping up to serve other folks.”
As of right now, all students will start online on Aug. 20. The district plans to offer parents a choice of in-person learning starting Sept. 14. Some of the planned safety protocols include the requirement of masks to be worn inside school buildings, hand sanitizer added in each elementary classroom and common areas, along with all common areas throughout all middle schools and high schools.
With the school year starting differently, parents tell NBC 5 the distribution of supplies Saturday meant one less thing they have to worry about as a new school year starts amid a pandemic.
Kera Banks is the mother of an incoming eighth-grader and high school senior.
“It’s very helpful because I’m a single mom, so the expenses really, really help with that,” Banks said. “I had a senior last year, so that’s kind of different. We’re kind of prepared for my senior this year. I love that they’re doing all of the masking and the protection. I’m a nurse, so it’s really important to me that they’re doing all of this.”
Warren said the district is ready, despite all of the pivoting of plans that have come with the novel coronavirus.
“The attitude around here is both from our family standpoint and from the district standpoint, we’re going to step up to it,” Warren said. “We’re just going to serve our children and we’re going to serve our families. We’ve got about 1,700 phenomenal teachers and they’re ready.”
Including the most recent distribution, Galderma has donated 6,105 backpacks for students since 2016.