Tailored Welcome Back: Los Fresnos distributes school supply backpacks

Los Fresnos CISD welcomed students back to school on Thursday in an annual kick-off event tailored to the coronavirus pandemic in the back parking lot of the Los Fresnos United ninth-grade campus.

The rural school district that adjoins Brownsville passed out backpacks filled with notebooks, pens and pencils, highlighters, crayons, rulers, scissors and folders to students identified by the district as having need. With 78% of students identified as economically disadvantaged and the additional hardship caused by COVID-19, a large majority of the district qualified, Superintendent Gonzalo Salazar said.

“ There’s a lot of excitement, plus there’s need. This is an example of the great things that happen when communities come together,” Salazar said. LFCISD serves 11,000 students at 14 campuses spread over 451 square miles, making it the largest district, geographically, in Cameron County.

In a normal year, Thursday’s school supply give-away would have been held under the big dome at LFU that doubles as an emergency shelter. This year it was held in the now-familiar drive thru format in keeping with social distancing guidelines forced by the pandemic. Supplies ran out after 800 backpacks had been distributed. People in the line after that were given a number for a later distribution.

School starts on Tuesday, but in a distance learning-only format. School staff at the event said it was great to see students again even if just for a brief moment as they drove by.

Viviana Delgado, who with her husbad Juan Carlos has five students in Los Fresnos schools, said receiving school supplies for all five will free up limited funds for other things.

“ There’s been less work this summer. We’re barely getting back on track,” she said.

Mallely Cardenas, who has a boy and a girl at Resaca Middle School, waited an hour in line and got through just before the cutoff.

She made it a point to say that Los Fresnos is a very caring district.

“ This is a lot of help for us parents. We are struggling. It helps us a lot,” she said.