Thousands line up for freebies, meet CW39 talent at Mayor’s Back 2 School Fest

HOUSTON - Families lined up early at the George R. Brown Convention Center Saturday to take advantage of the 'Mayor's Back 2 School Fest,' presented by Shell.

Not only did the kids get to load up on much-needed supplies, they had the chance to meet-and-greet with CW39 Houston's morning dose. host Maggie Flecknoe.

The City of Houston wanted to do its part to ease the stress off parents, who are not only preparing for the upcoming school year, but also still recovering from the last year's devastation.

"This one is more important this year than previous years. The first one after Hurricane Harvey and many of these families are still coping with the effects of Hurricane Harvey," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

One parent added,  "It helps families that can't afford school supplies and what they can get, they can get the rest of the supplies they need."

At least 25,000 people turned up for the event, with some showing up as early as 5 a.m. to get a spot in line.

Betsy Dominguez took her family to take advantage of the event for a fourth consecutive year.

"Even though we work, it's hard to get everything for school and she loves seeing the mayor and being a part of it," Dominguez said. "The extra stuff for the kids, they enjoy being part of it, seeing the fire department, the police, the dentist -- they enjoy it all."

The annual fest provides economically disadvantaged students in Houston with free school supplies, immunizations, health screenings, haircut vouchers, underwear and other amenities.

The savings for parents totaled about $100 dollars per student.

"If you've got four kids and look in previous years, I've run into people with more than four kids, but if you take a family of four, you're looking at well over $400 for that family," Turner said.

It's the type of help that'll give students a good start to the school year.