Philadelphia’s 2nd Annual Back-To-School Celebration & Bus Tour Brings School Year Essentials To Students

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An unwelcomed assignment for families this year is navigating how to make ends meet with soaring prices for school supplies. For mom Damaris Andres, she’ll take any help she can get.

“I’m a mother of 10 kids. So, I have seven at home, still going to school. This helps out a lot, a lot,” Andres said.

To help with costs, the School District of Philadelphia held its second annual “Back-to-school Bus Tour.” Their first stop? Northeast High School.

“Everything they need is right here. And I’ve learned that. That transportation is a barrier to care therefore that barrier is taken away because everything is right here for them,” Independence Blue Cross Foundation President Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake said.

From free COVID-19 tests to medical services and backpacks. Parents like Lorie White say they’re thankful they have access to these resources in one location.

“It was easy for us to get to here, and it’s just a big help,” White, a mother of two students, said. “In addition to what I will buy at Target or wherever. It’s just useful.”

Backpacks were filled with pencils, notebooks and glue sticks. Organizers tell CBS3 that 4,000 bookbags were given to families.

“I have a notebook, pencils, and markers,” student Karlie White said.

“These kinds of resources just kind of help take some of the pressure off. Financial pressures,” School District of Philadelphia superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington said.

The bus will travel across Philly hosting 10 events and four mega-events until August 20. The next stop on the tour will be in South Philly on Aug. 10.

A full list of locations is available here.