Annual Brother Bill's Event Reaches 4,000 Students

Back to School Beach Bash addresses the cost of school supplies for students in West Dallas, where 30% of families live at or below the poverty line.

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November 3, 2021 by Catherine Kline

This year, Brother Bill's Helping Hand celebrated their largest supply distribution, providing 4,000 students with a backpack and school supply kits at their annual Back To School Beach Bash. 20210806_012823000_iOS

About Brother Bill’s

Brother Bill’s Helping Hand (BBHH) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1961 by West Dallas preacher Bill Harrod, who saw the need for basic necessities in his community. BBHH offers a set of holistic program options for West Dallas neighbors that support all critical facets of life from food to healthcare, mental health, spirituality, and job training. In 2020, their food pantry distributed over 1.5 million pounds of food and their health clinic saw 4,600 neighbors. 

Meeting the Demand

This August, families across the country faced the start of yet another school year impacted by Covid-19. The prior 2020-2021 school year was marked largely by virtual learning and national economic disparity conversations centered on technology and internet access. With many students returning to campuses for in-person learning, parents and families once again encountered the cost of long lists of school supplies. A KPMG survey projected that parents of school children spent as much as 32% more on school supplies in the 2021 year, citing rising inflation costs and a heightened demand for supplies as students return to campuses. Depending on district requirements, supplies for one elementary student can range from $80-$250. 

With an increasing number of studies showing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods, school preparedness for West Dallas students became even more important for the 2021-2022 school year.  At least 30% of West Dallas families live at or below the poverty line. 


Recognizing the importance of this year's distribution, the team at Brother Bill's was determined to serve more students than ever before. With such a large scale event in front of them, BBHH partnered with RightGift to procure backpacks and school supplies through an in-kind wishlist and bulk purchasing. A backpack wish list campaign provided a centralized, online donation option for individual donors, community organizations, and area businesses. After discussing the local students' specific supply needs, RightGift selected a supplier to create custom school supply kits for each grade level. The purchase of these kits, paired with the donated backpacks, served more than 4,000 students with the supplies they needed.  

From start to finish, RightGift worked closely with the BBHH team, monitoring their list and celebrating wish list donations that poured in over the course of the summer. Once all backpacks and supplies were ordered, the RightGift team coordinated shipping logistics and ensured that all items were delivered on time. Even in a modified drive-thru format, the annual Beach Bash was an incredible success! Volunteers dressed in fun, beach-inspired attire and handed out popcorn and backpacks. Even a DJ was on hand to help turn the parking lot, even in Texas summer heat, into a tropical oasis. 

This event is so important because it gives the chance for our families to receive important back to school items they will need for their child. We want every student to start the school year feeling successful and ready.  I appreciated RightGift’s ongoing, helpful communication throughout the entire process and making sure that we had everything we needed to be able to serve our community.” 

- Laurel Green, Youth and Children's Program Director 


To learn more about Brother Bill's Helping Hand, visit their website at

Topics: campaign management, wish lists, back to school

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