The Assistance Center of Towson Churches and Valley Baptist Church will give students from low-income families a chance to obtain school supplies free of charge from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 20 at Valley Baptist Church, 1401 York Road, in Lutherville.
Last year, 76 students came to the event to pick up donated supplies in an experience that is similar to back-to-school shopping, according to the center's executive director, Cathy Burgess.
"Remember how exciting it was to pick up school supplies?" Burgess said.
Last year, the students who participated in the program, which has been dubbed the Back to School event, experienced that excitement, she added.
"I think that made it special for a lot of families," Burgess said. "I remember a lot of smiles and a lot of laughs and a lot of happiness."
This year, the center hopes to help 100 students through the event. The average cost of supplies on back-to-school lists for area schools is about $50, according to Burgess. For families with multiple children, that cost adds up.
"It could mean that other bills can't be paid. It is quite a burden for them," Burgess said.
The supplies are donated by 50 area churches, Burgess said, but the center is still looking for additional donations from the community. While a variety of school supplies are useful, Burgess said they're in particular need of some larger items, such as backpacks, binders and notebooks.
Items can be dropped off at ACTC, located behind Calvary Baptist Church, at 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson, 21204. on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., with the exception of Tuesday afternoons. Monetary donations can be sent by check to the same address, with "back to school" specified in the memo line.
Eligible families are invited to take part in the back to school event. Families who qualify are either referred through the county's Department of Social Services, other agencies, or those who have been deemed in need by ACTC. Families can register with the center until Aug. 16.
ACTC has been in the community for more than 30 years, Burgess said. The consortium of 50 churches provides food, toiletries, clothing, transportation and help with fuel, utility payments and prescriptions, to individuals and families in need, as well as homeless individuals.
In 2015, the group gave out more than 300,000 pounds of food, and provided more than $150,000 in financial assistance, according to Burgess.
Leftover items will be donated to Lutheran Missions, as well as programs for low-income students in Baltimore County and Baltimore City schools, so students can get items as needed throughout the school year, Burgess said.