ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Before the first bell rings in the 2023-2024 school year, thousands of students and families will be headed out or on to the web to get the supplies they’ll need to navigate the year ahead.

In partnership with the Big Country Communities in Schools organization, KRBC is making sure all students, regardless of financial situation, have access to the supplies they need to succeed.

“The research tells us if the students have the materials that they need as they start school, the more successful they’re gonna be,” advocated Justin Whiteley, Director of Community and Resource Partnerships for Big Country Communities in Schools.

While a few pencils and notebooks may not sound like an expensive investment, Whiteley said Communities in Schools has seen an increase in need for supplies from local schools and teachers, and the rising price of gas and other commodities has left little for families to spend on education.

“One of our goals is to try to make sure that we break down any barriers that keep students from being successful… Some parents have two, three, four students, and that adds up,” Whiteley said.

You can be a part of the solution as well.

Donations of supplies or even money will be accepted outside the South Abilene Walmart at 4350 Southwest drive from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 4. KRBC staff will be manning the tables to accept your donations. Each notepad and dollar will help students focus less on their wallets and more on their studies.

There are also supplies most probably don’t consider when the back-to-school season rolls around. Whiteley explained how they can help those in trade schools continue their studies even when the cost becomes too great.

“We think about pencils, we think about pens, paper, those aspects. But there’s some non-traditional school supplies that we don’t think about,” added Whitely. “So, we get them motivated we keep them in school and in those programs by providing those things.”

Things like beauty kits or welding boots can get quite pricey, but with the help of the community, these future welders and cosmetologists are able to remain on their road to the workforce.