Central New York

Barbecue on Syracuse South Side Prepares Students for School

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Audio transcript: Backpack Drive script

By Michelle Houston Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News)–  The countdown has begun for the first day of school.

Students are expected to be fully equipped with essential school supplies.

While school supplies are important for classes, some families can’t afford to purchase them.

According to the Kids in Need Foundation more than 16 million kids in the U.S live in poverty and don’t have school supplies on the first day of school.

Mary Nelson Youth Center CEO and President Mary Nelson, says she started the Back-to-School Barbecue 17 years ago.

“We do so many different things in our community why can’t we have a give back day to make sure our kids are ready for school that’s my main thought,” said Nelson.

Students ranging from kindergarten up to college are provided with supplies at the event.

There is a give away at the barbecue, that allows students to take home book bags filled with school supplies.

Book bags aren’t the only things students are given at the annual event. Toiletries and bedding decor are also handed out to students who need them.

Nelson says she wants the youth to enjoy getting ready for school.

“And I want these kids to feel like it’s Christmas in August,” said Nelson.

There will also be resources for people who are not students. Nelson says health services will be available for families at the barbecue.

According to the Youth Day Foundation, over 21- thousand youths and their families attended the barbecue in 2015.