MADISON, Wis. — School starts for most U.S.-based families from late July to after labor day and that means for many, back to school shopping is on the to-do list. 

For many families, the start of the school year can be a stressful one because not only do parents need to get their kids backpacks, pens and calculators, but they also need to make sure their kids fit in and have the right clothing. 

 “I am making a little bit less, so it is even harder than it was over the past couple of years,” said Alicia Patterson. 

(Cody Taylor/Spectrum News 1)

When the pandemic hit, Patterson, a mother of four, was forced to switch jobs, ultimately leaving her with less money coming in on a monthly basis and more stress when it comes to things like back to school shopping. 

“It is always so tight around this time of the year,” said Patterson. “Any help we can get is always a blessing for sure.”  

A study by Deloitte Insights found that, on average, parents spend $661 per child on back to school supplies. 

This Saturday Patterson was able to stop by the 27th annual Back to School Celebration hosted by 100 Black Men of Madison and pick up four backpacks filled with everything a child will need to use in the classroom.  

“What we like to do is we like to make certain students are getting off on the right foot. School supplies are a big part of that,” said J.R. Simms, vice president of 100 Black Men of Madison. 

Simms said over Friday and Saturday, his team of volunteers assembled and handed out 1,600 backpacks to families in need. 

“We have determined through research that if a kid is confident, he is going to perform. So what we supply are brand new backpacks. In addition to… the help of our partners, we supply brand new backpacks filled with brand new school supplies,” said Simms. 

The 27th annual Back to School Celebration ran from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, but if your family is in need of school supplies, you can contact 100 Black Men of Madison here.

“A brand new backpack is a good look on a kid and when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you perform better,” said Simms. 

Giveaways are also hosted by the following organizations every year: