THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — The first day of school is still a week away for New York City students.

Thanks to the Bronx borough president and community leaders, hundreds of families turned out for a giveaway of backpacks filled with supplies. 

The organizers said the need is greater than ever before, so the community is coming together to make sure every child has what they need to start the school year strong. 

Tuka Jackson and her two sons are the first in line for this year’s annual Back to School Health and Literacy Fair at P.S. 51 inside the Bronx STEM & Arts Academy Gymnasium. Five-year-old Omari Jackson said he’s excited to start kindergarten. 

Jackson is on a mission to find the perfect bookbag to sport on his first, and he knows exactly what color he wants. His mom had one word for back-to-school shopping–chaotic. 

The Jackson family is not alone in their need for a little bit of help when it comes to school supplies. 

According to Robin Hood NYC‘s latest annual poverty tracker report 2023, which follows 10,000 New York City families over a decade, 22% of the Bronx residents live in poverty right now,  compared to the overall poverty rate of New York City, which is 18%. 

Gibson said there is a critical need for families living paycheck to paycheck; the cost of going back to school is just too much for so many of the families in her borough.

Gibson’s office said the event is not just about giving more than 409 bookbags away with school supplies.  But food and information on free social services as well. 

Omari Jackson got his dream green bookbag and can’t stop smiling. 

If you have a story, reach out to Monica Morales at