“Hope's a big deal when you're going through a tough time."By Shelby Cassesse

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With the return to school around the corner, school supply drives are in full swing.

Parents and students in need are getting some relief with so many questions surrounding what schooling will look like this year.

In Mt. Lebanon, The Salvation Army and First National Bank provided school supplies, clothes, and haircuts to about 200 children.

“Hope’s a big deal when you’re going through a tough time,” The Salvation Army’s Justin Caldwell. “We’re reminding these families that this community cares.”

Caldwell recognizes the need may be even greater this year with many out of work.

“The need is up in all areas,” he said. “This time there’s a lot of families out there just trying to get by, and so this can help them get a little further along.”

In Hazelwood, faith-based social ministry Jada House International provided supplies while celebrating Black-owned businesses.

Kids received backpacks filled with supplies from local Black-owned businesses.

“It’s important for these kids to have something to look up to as far as knowing that they can do something in their community,“ said Jada House International Executive Director Terri Shields.

Though some kids may start the year online, the supplies are still greatly needed.

“They can still come in handy,” said Melinda Harris of Hazelwood. “The children need the book bags. They need the learning materials that’s inside of them to help them do their schoolwork.”

School supply drives continued into the evening in the Pittsburgh area.

Several organizations, including Volunteers of America, Backpack For Hunger, and Fox Families Care provided supplies to nearly 500 children in Sharpsburg.

Tarcha Rebeiz of Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania said the event also served as a way for the community to come together safely.

“School supplies specifically are insanely expensive and when you’re trying to decide whether you’re going to spend your $5 on gas or milk, school supplies are something that don’t even come into your mind,” she said.

Shelby Cassesse