BISD volunteer Ana Lopez and BPD patrolman Nancy Alanis grab stacks of backpacks to pass out Saturday for the Brownsville Police Department’s annual School Supply Back-Pack Giveaway drive-through event at the Brownsville Sports Park. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

A line of cars stretched from the Brownsville Sports Park to the expressway feeder road Saturday morning, as the annual School Supply Back-Pack Giveaway helped students get a step closer to being ready for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.

Part of a collaboration between the Brownsville Police Department, Driscoll Health Plan, BCFS Health and Human Services and the Brownsville Independent School District, the event distributed 2,500 backpacks, school supply packets and goodie bags to local families through drive-through stations starting at 8 a.m.

“Because of everybody’s situation, because things have changed, anytime you give out free supplies and you are able to help out the community, it helps reach the students that don’t have the means. All of this really helps kids coming back to school,” Nancy Alanis, BPD patrolman and Community Affairs liaison, said.

For many BISD students, this upcoming school year will be the first time they’ve stepped back into the classroom in over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the district returns to in-person classes for the 2021-2022 academic year.

A young girl pokes her head of of the backseat Saturday as her family drives through the Brownsville Police Department’s annual School Supply Back-Pack Giveaway at the Brownsville Sports Park. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

BISD volunteers were on hand at the event to help load each car with backpacks and school supplies and say a quick “hello” to any students they recognized pulling through. For Rosalva Larrasquitu the needs of the students she’ll see this year are foremost on her mind as she carries stacks of backpacks out to each waiting vehicle with a smile and quick word for every parent.

“This is exceptionally important. As the Director for Parent and Family Engagement, we know that the families in our community need the resources as much as we can help them and support them so they can be ready in school. We are so anxious to see those kids back in school and filling our hallways,” she said.

For the BPD Chief of Police Felix Sauceda, handing out school supplies to help prepare students returning to campuses is just one of many opportunities he sees to give back a little of the goodwill he says his department received from the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s very important that they feel our support,” he said.