By George Slaughter
Compassion Katy held its Operation Back 2 School distribution event Saturday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Dr. Title 1 schools are those with the highest concentrations of student poverty. Students received backpacks, supplies, and other resources. Thanks to donors, sponsors, and volunteers, students at 17 Title 1 elementary schools in the Katy Independent School District will have the supplies they need to begin the school year on the right foot.
Compassion Katy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works to connect local churches, businesses, and Katy area nonprofits. It partnered with the school district to identify and help students at Katy ISDs more economically disadvantaged elementary schools.
Saturday’s event served approximately 7,000 students. The event has grown from eight schools last year, and one school, Sundown Elementary, 20100 Saums Road, in 2017.
Mayor Bill Hastings described the scene as incredible, but only when you know where it started from. He told the story about how the Compassion Katy organization came to be.
“Brad Graves, who was a pastor at the Waters Church (2710 N. Mason), came to me with an idea,” Hastings said. The idea Graves had was to create an organization like 6 Stones, which sponsors an Operation Back 2 School event in the Euless-Bedford area. Euless and Bedford are part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Hastings said Graves asked him to identify people in Katy who could make a similar organization work locally. Hastings did so, and recalled they had their initial meeting at Midway Barbeque, 6025 Highway Blvd.
“He didn’t form it under 6 Stones,” Hastings said. “He started Compassion Katy. This actually was his dream come true.”
Hastings said in the past he would watch different churches, organizations, and in some cases, businesses, solicit school supplies. He said it was “really neat” to watch the Operation Back 2 School event grow from such a small foundation.
“The way it’s grown has been just amazing,” Hastings said. “It’s just another example of the growth of Katy. The way that people just surround an event, when you’ve got a good cause and can get it out to them like this, they will all come and they will all support you.”
While Compassion Katy has been working with Title 1 elementary schools, Katy Christian Ministries has been working with families of students who are not at Title 1 elementary schools, but who are in need nonetheless, through its Red Apple School Supplies program.
”Basically, everyone is being supported by the two organizations,” Deysi Crespo, Katy Christian Ministries chief executive officer, said.
School supplies weren’t the only items available. Students needing haircuts received them through Kuts for Christ, a non-profit organization that provides free haircutting services for those in need. Kuts is spelled with a K for “Keep Up the Salvation” for Christ. Katy Christian Ministries distributed approximately 10,000 lbs. of produce in the parking lot.
Katy students return to school Wednesday, August 14.