Manos de Cristo provides school supplies for needy children


Back-to-school season is an exciting time for many students. For some low-income families, it’s also a time of financial burden and stress.

Manos de Cristo’s back-to-school program eases that stress for about 2,000 poor families. The Austin-based 501(c)(3) charity will be giving away supplies to low-income pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade students from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 18 to 20 at Allan Elementary School, 4900 Gonzales St. in East Austin, while supplies last.

The average cost of school supplies for elementary school students is more than $650, according to Manos de Cristo. American Express’ Spending and Saving Tracker reveals that cost can be as high as $1,239, an amount many low-income families can’t afford.

For Cetura Guevara, an unemployed mother of five children, the program is a godsend.

“They give school supplies and even clothing for the uniforms my children need,” said Guevara.

Manos de Cristo, founded in 1988, began this school program about 20 years ago. In Austin, 12 percent of families live in poverty, according to city data.

Guevara has come to the event for three years. “It’s a great help to people like me who need to save money,” she said. “The volunteers are always so nice and entertain the children while we wait.”

Families begin to line up at as early as 3 a.m., a reflection of how much they need these supplies, although organizers discourage bringing children with them so early. Volunteers will help process about 400 children a day, and participants must bring a valid ID and have their child present with them.

“While most children get excited about returning to school, there’s always children who dread it because they don’t feel prepared,” said Julie Ballesteros, executive director of Manos de Cristo. “We want to ensure that all children are eager to return to school.”

Manos de Cristo has focused its efforts on building a better life for children, families and individuals living in poverty. In addition to their school program, the organization also offers help with dental care, educational resources, food and clothing.

“Getting a child ready for school often becomes a financial burden on families who struggle to make ends meet,” said Ballesteros. “Manos (de Cristo) is here to help.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

POLICE: Driver who crashed car into South Austin house fled on foot
POLICE: Driver who crashed car into South Austin house fled on foot

The sole occupant of a blue Mazda that crashed into a South Austin home on Wednesday night left the scene of the crash before he could be questioned by police, Austin Police Department officials said. Police responded to a crash in the 2200 block of Spring Creek Drive around 10:20 p.m. According to witnesses, a man in his 20s fled the vehicle...
WEATHER OUTLOOK: Pleasant and sunny for Thanksgiving Day
WEATHER OUTLOOK: Pleasant and sunny for Thanksgiving Day

A clear, frigid morning will give way to a sunny, pleasant afternoon with a high of 71 on the Thanksgiving holiday with only light winds, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to dip to 45 degrees this evening. Friday is expected to get a bit warmer, with a high of 77. Sunny skies are also anticipated tomorrow.
Source: Mugabe granted immunity; safety in Zimbabwe ensured
Source: Mugabe granted immunity; safety in Zimbabwe ensured

Former President Robert Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and was assured that his safety in Zimbabwe would be protected, Reuters reported. The announcement was part of a deal that led to the 93-year-old’s resignation, sources told Reuters. Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe since its independence from Great Britain in 1980, resigned...
Poll: Americans wary about talking politics on Thanksgiving
Poll: Americans wary about talking politics on Thanksgiving

It’s OK to talk turkey during today’s Thanksgiving dinner, but a new poll reveals that more than a third of all Americans do not want to discuss politics. According to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, only two out of 10 people said they were eager to talk politics. Four out of 10 do not feel strongly...
Mississippi alderman charged with procuring prostitution
Mississippi alderman charged with procuring prostitution

An alderman from a north Mississippi county was arrested and charged Wednesday with procuring prostitution, police said. Ronald Wayne Hale was booked into the DeSoto County jail with a $1,000 bond, according to the sheriff's office. He was released Wednesday afternoon. Hale had no comment as he left the jail. Hale is the alderman of Ward 2 in Southaven...
More Stories