Hundreds get supplies at Back-To-School Fest

Students got free backpacks, supplies

By Chris Parenteau - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Anxious people waited in long lines for hours Saturday morning to get into the Jacksonville Fairgrounds to get some back to school supplies for underprivileged kids at the seventh annual Back-To-School Fest.

Once the doors opened, people hurried to grab backpacks and get inside air-conditioning and out of the heat. Dozens of vendors were waiting inside to give them everything they need to start the school year.

"Unfortunately socioeconomic factors sometimes get in the way. We don't want those factors to get in the way of children reaching their potential especially academically," said Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Duval County schools.

Vitti said it was great t to see the growth of this event.  He said that without an event like this, many parents wouldn't be able to get the supplies for their kids to go back to school.

"We can have a great teacher in front of each student, which is our goal in especially in our high poverty schools, but if kids aren't coming with basic supplies, they are at a disadvantage. This is about filling those gaps so we can equal the playing field," said Vitti.

Parents were thrilled to have the opportunity to get with their kids need to start the school year. 

Vitti said he is hopeful that those students will be able to get right into learning from day one since they have the supplies.

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