The Waxahachie community has come together again to help give students a leg up in the upcoming school year by distributing donated school supplies and clothing at Waxahachie ISD’s Operation First Day of School on Tuesday.

“This is our third year to do Operation First Day of School. It grew out of the need to assist our students in need. We have a high population of students that are socio-economically disadvantaged. This year, our official numbers to the state is that 52 percent of our children are on free and reduced lunch,” district director of public relations Nicole Mansell said.

“What we are offering is free school supplies, clothing, immunizations and haircuts. Then in the evening we have several of the local dentists that volunteer their time who are doing free dental screenings and providing fluoride treatments,” she said.

“This has really been a community effort and we have close to 200 volunteers that will come and work the event,” she said, saying volunteers began work last week helping to set up the event, which is held at Waxahachie High School of Choice, formerly Turner Middle School, located 614 Getzendaner St. Operation First Day of School will have hours from 9 a.m.-noon and 6-8 p.m.

Upon arriving parents, will fill out an application that will be entered into a computer to help the district keep track of the students and families that have been helped. In the past two years, about 1,300 families and 3,000 children have received assistance through the initiative.

“What this event does is that it helps those children who need help. They can walk into school on the first day and they are in something new, they have their school supplies, their backpacks,” volunteer Bonney Ramsey said. “They begin school like all the other children and they feel important. It is so good for their self-esteem because they can begin school like everyone else.

“When this began three years ago, there were not as many children that needed help,” she said. “It has increased with each year.  It amazes me every year how many people come together and help other people in this community.”

Residents who would still like to make a donation of school supplies can drop those items off at the event during the hours listed above.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.