MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Students in Mobile County Public Schools start classes this week. As families have their last week of summer freedom, local churches are stepping in to help those in need.

A group of children and parents make their way down an aisle of backpacks. It’s part of Pathway Church’s annual backpack giveaway. This year more than 900 families pre-registered, which is a record for them and a big job.

“We get to help out children in need, we get to get them school supplies and filled up 1,000 backpacks,” said student Madie Sumrall. With inflation and other costs, families in Mobile County and across the nation are facing more challenges than ever.

“It tells us: one this community needs this, two they come in and it shows there are people in this community who need a blessing,” said Kids Coordinator at Pathway Church Amber Sims. It’s 1,000 backpacks, free haircuts, and a chance to spread some joy too.

“I love it, I love the kids who have the packs that are too big and are upside down, they get an ice cream sandwich too, anytime you see a smile it’s hard to beat that,” said Pathway Church Lead Pastor Travis Johnson. Across town Outbreak Ministries on Government street holding service and a backpack giveaway as they too see families struggling.

“With us, on the backside of COVID you see a lot of families who are struggling we think it’s important to offer this to the families for help and support,” said Bryant Pugh with Outbreak Ministries.

Stay ahead of the biggest stories, breaking news and weather in Mobile, Pensacola and across the Gulf Coast and Alabama. Download the WKRG News 5 news app and be sure to turn on push alerts.