FORT WORTH — Need a new backpack for school? How about immunizations? Heck, maybe a haircut to top it all off for a fresh start.All of this, and more, will be available at the ninth annual Tarrant County Back to School Roundup, which provides free school supplies for eligible students in prekindergarten through grade 12 enrolled in Tarrant County public schools. But to get into the Aug. 7 event, which is expected to serve at least 10,000 students, adults need to preregister by Aug. 2, something local school officials stressed at a news conference Wednesday.“Going through the process of preparation for school helps reinforce the fact that attending school has the expectation of learning,” said Clint Bond, Fort Worth schools spokesman in an earlier statement.“If a student is fully equipped with required supplies, immunizations and knows how to catch the bus, or which route to walk, then the distractions that detract from the learning day are minimized or eliminated,” he said.Several registration events are scheduled for upcoming weeks for families to get vouchers for admission to the event and school supplies. Individuals without admission vouchers will not be allowed inside.At the 14 events, families can pick up vouchers after completing paperwork and providing photo identification, proof of Tarrant County residency and proof that the family’s income falls below the federal poverty level.Immunizations will be available to up to 200 children, and eye exams and glasses will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Vision screenings will be available to everyone. This year, 2,000 school uniforms and 7,000 free books will be distributed. Representatives from Tarrant County schools will be available to answer questions.The event is funded by donations and in-kind contributions to meet the needs of low-income families in the county. According to the 2011 census, 23.8 percent of young people in Tarrant County live in poverty.Last year, the average person with schoolchildren spent $95.44 on school supplies such as notebooks, pencils and backpacks, according to the National Retail Federation.
Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326 Twitter: @jessamybrown