The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) hosted its 7th annual “Back-to-School Fair” today benefitting over 500 children from the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program.
HACEP transformed their Central Office parking lot, on the corner of East Paisano Drive and Cortez Road, into a fair celebrating the quickly approaching 2016 school year.
The Fair featured the distribution of backpacks filled with the essential school supplies (valued at $30 each) and included over 15 exhibitors from various El Paso businesses and community organizations.
Children from ages 6 – 11 years old received backpacks that included notebooks, crayons, pencils, rulers, markers, scissors, and folders.
Two lucky families even went home with laptop computers, a new entry on the list of school supplies, which will help close the digital divide.
These supplies help offset the cost to families earning an average of $12K-$15K a year as the beginning of a school year can leave a dent in anyone’s wallet.
Hundreds of little faces lit up with delight as they picked out their favorite color backpack, and picked up other new “treasures” at the fair. The parents were excited too, as well as relieved, knowing that this opportunity will make the start out the school year less challenging.
According to the 2015 Building a Grad Nation Report, students who attend school equipped with the needed school supplies have a better chance of achieving excellence in the classroom. Their confidence soars, classroom behavior improves, and grades go up.
“Today, we were able to go beyond providing safe and sanitary homes to our families,” said Lorena Rivera, Director of the HCV Program. “This is due to the tremendous support we received from our community partners, whose participation is key to the success of this event.”
The HCV Back-to-School Fair was made possible by a generous grant from the Wilma D. Moleen Foundation and supported by various local community partners and volunteers: Chase Bank, Rio Bravo Title, El Paso’s National IBF Featherweight World Champion Jennifer Han, City of El Paso Public Health Department, Smile Magic, Star Medical Group, Chamizal National Memorial, 2-1-1 Texas, El Paso Zoo, El Paso Library, Big Boy Concessions, Craze, the Food Truck Association, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, UTEP, EP Fitness, Fresh on Mondays and the HACEP Community Services Smoke-Free Initiative Team.