Clear backpacks for sale in a school supply aisle at a local H-E-B.
The San Antonio Battered Women and Children's Shelter is asking for donations of clear backpacks. Credit: Courtesy / Emma Cook

As school districts prepare to start a new academic year, San Antonio’s Battered Women and Children’s Shelter needs school supplies and uniforms for 565 students in grades Pre-K to high school.

The shelter serves victims of domestic violence. Linda Canizales, director of external affairs and volunteer relations, told the Rivard Report that women who stay at the shelter often don’t think to bring school supplies when they first leave their homes.

“When families come…they may bring absolutely nothing,” she said. “School supplies are actually the last thing that should be on [a woman’s] mind – safety should be first.”

In 2017, the shelter provided supplies to more than 1,000 students; now it is again asking for donations. Donations can be dropped off at the Family Violence Prevention Center’s donation center, located at 2617 N. Main Ave., which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Requested donations include binders, folders, copy paper, USB drives, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, gallon-size ziplock bags, and filler paper. The shelter also has an urgent need for clear and mesh backpacks.

New rules, implemented in the name of school safety, have mandated clear or mesh backpacks in certain San Antonio districts. Canizales said these kinds of backpacks have never been required before, which means the shelter doesn’t have extras from previous years.

“We get donations year-round, but a lot of times it is regular backpacks…we can’t use those,” she said. “It is like restarting and recreating a whole new drive for those backpacks.”

The shelter is also asking for donations of school uniforms in the form of white and navy polo shirts and khaki pants and shorts for boys and girls ages 4 to 17.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.