MIDDLE RIVER — With the new school year fast approaching, purchasing new school supplies can be a financial burden for some parents.

For the 11th year, the Preston Mitchum Jr. Foundation is in the midst of its annual Back to School Drive, where donations of school supplies are being collected by 30 businesses across Baltimore County. And for the seventh year in a row, donations were dropped off at the Middle River Boys and Girls Club on Friday, Aug. 15, where about 75 local students were invited to pick out a brand new backpack and various school supplies.

The Boys and Girls Club is one of 12 organizations benefiting from the school supply drive along with four schools.

“We have enough supplies for about 100 students,” said foundation founder Preston Mitchum Jr. “We have about 75 students here today and will leave the additional supplies for the Salvation Army.”

Prior to the school supplies that were handed out on Friday, the foundation handed out supplies to another 300 students during the week.

About $3,000 in school supplies was given away at the Boys and Girls Club to the 75 students who are entering grades kindergarten through eighth with each student receiving about $40 worth of supplies.

Each student was able to pick the backpack of their choice and additional items from a table full of glue sticks, folders, composition books, spiral notebooks, pencils, pencil cases, erasers, packs of paper, crayons and other traditional items each student will find on their back to school list.

“For us right now, we’re a homeless family and we are very appreciative of this drive,” said Jenell Miller of Middle River. “We have six children and we are just very appreciative.”

Four of Miller’s six children participated in the day’s donation give away.

“We hope to serve over 2,000 students this year, but may be closer to 2,500 when everything wraps up,” Mitchum said.

Last year the Preston Mitchum Jr. Foundation’s Back to School Drive served about 1,900 students, he said.

According to Mitchum, about 6,000 students in the Baltimore region are in need of school supplies this school year and even though the Back to School Drive is successfully growing, not every student will be able to get the supplies they need.

“If we get phone calls from people who need help, and we have the supplies, we will help them,” Mitchum said. “We will try our best to help additional kids in the community that need help.”

The Back to School Drive began on July 25 and runs until Friday, Aug. 22, with about 30 businesses around the Baltimore region collecting school supplies. Locally, donated items can be dropped off at participating locations which include LifeWay Christian Store, 7900 Honeygo Blvd. in Nottingham, and Wolf Insurance Group, 9124 Belair Road in Nottingham.

The Back to School Rally at the Boys and Girls Club came to an end with all 75 students gathering in the auditorium and filling the room with a boom of a “thank you” to the Preston Mitchum Jr. Foundation and all of the volunteers.

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