Temple teen organizes backpack drive event for students in need

Published: Aug. 12, 2023 at 8:24 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - A Temple teenager is stepping up to give 400 backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need.

On Saturday afternoon Aniya Smith, 17, organized the third annual Back to School bash at Miller Park in Temple.

With their own money, Smith and her family bought most of the school supplies and backpacks. They gave everything away for free to local students in need.

”The students don’t have to do nothing, but show up,” Smith said.

Donna Ward served as Smith’s principal when she attended Scott Elementary School.

”As a former principal, it’s inspiring to see that you’ve touched someone in a way that they’ve listened and grown, and they’ve taken that to heart by giving back to the community,” Ward said.

Although Smith is the event organizer, it’s a community-wide effort to bring this to life.

Temple ISD donated the school bus for school supply distribution, the Temple Fire Department brought a fire truck for the kids and Smith’s uncle and aunt even stepped in to give free haircuts.

”Everybody in the community is apart and they don’t want to do well in school, so I feel like everybody should come together and do what’s best for the community,” Smith said.

Temple ISD parents say it’s inspiring to see kids looking out for other kids.

”Older youth are reaching out to make sure the younger ones are getting what they need and they understand because they’ve been to school,” Brandy Paris, Temple ISD grandparent, said.

Now there’s only one thing left to say to the teen who put it together.

”Well I just want to say thank you for the help because it does help a lot,” Jacqueline Juarez, Temple ISD parent, said.