Back To School Time: Here’s Where to Score Free Backpacks and Supplies in Pennsylvania

By Ashley Adams

August 7, 2023

If you are struggling with the cost of school supplies for your child, try hitting up one of these community events to score some free backpacks and supplies.

Students in Pennsylvania will be heading back to school later this month and many families are struggling with the high cost of backpacks and supplies. Fortunately, there are many opportunities throughout the commonwealth to score free supplies.

Note: This list is by no means comprehensive. If you do not see an event in your local area, consider contacting your local United Way or charitable organization to see what services are available in your area.

Allegheny County

Operation Backpack: Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania – Southwestern Pennsylvania, 600 Clay St., Pittsburgh, is hosting a Back to School Resource Fair to provide new backpacks and school supplies for low income children on Aug. 18 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Dauphin County

Annual Back To School Block Party: Journey Church, 750 South 29th St., Harrisburg, is holding a back-to-school event with entertainment and a backpack and school supplies giveaway on Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m.

Erie County

School Supplies Giveaway: Odessa’s Place, 628 West 18th St., Erie, is offering a one-day event to provide school supplies to students in the Erie County school district on Aug. 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

School Supplies Event: The Second Baptist Church – Erie, 757 E. 26th St., is offering a one-day event to provide school supplies for students on Sept. 11 from 2 to 6 p.m.

Lackawanna County

Back To School Supply Distribution: The Salvation Army – Scranton, 500 S. Washington St., Scranton, is hosting a drive-thru school supply distribution event for students who reside in Lackawanna County on Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lancaster County

Back to School Giveaway: Rep. P. Michael Sturla (D-Lancaster) is hosting a back-to-school giveaway event for students in grades K-8 in the Lancaster School District on Sunday at Clipper Magazine Stadium, 600 North Prince St. Families must register in advance. Registration is from 12 to 2:30 p.m., with the giveaway taking place after that. Festivities continue to 4 p.m. with a free Lancaster Barnstormers’ game at 5 p.m.

Donegal Tools 4 School: The Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church – Marietta, 1290 River Rd., will provide free school supplies for Donegal School District students on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m.

Lehigh County

Backpack Giveaway: The Salvation Army, 144 N. Eighth St., Allentown, will provide free backpacks and school supplies during the community street fair on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Luzerne County

Backpack Bash: The Faith Assembly of God Church, 220 Middle Rd., Nanticoke, will host a backpack bash on Aug. 20 from 2 to 5 p.m. for children ages 3 to 12. After a short presentation, backpacks will be handed out and there will be food, water games, and more.

Community Festival Back to School: The Salvation Army – Wilkes-Barre, 17 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Wilkes Barre, is hosting an event that includes free haircuts, food, games, and school supply giveaway on Aug. 19 starting at 9:30 a.m.

Back to School Bash: The Shavertown United Methodist Church, 163 N. Pioneer Ave., is hosting a back-to-school bash that includes a clear backpack giveaway with school supplies on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Monroe County

Backpack and School Supplies: Angels and Dragonflies Children’s Charity in Stroudsburg and the First Baptist Church of East Stroudsburg will giveaway backpacks and school supplies in the parking lot of the church at 160 North Courtland St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 19.

Backpack Drive: The Living Hope Baptist Church, 4326 Cherry Lane Church Rd., Tannersville, will provide backpacks stuffed with school supplies for students in grades K-4 on Wednesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Northumberland County

Back to School Haircut and Backpack Bash: Crossroads Nazarene Church, 456 King Street, Milton, will provide backpacks, school supplies, and haircuts for students on Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Back to School Goodie Bag Giveaway: The Milton Public Library, 541 Broadway St., Milton, is offering a back-to-school goodie bag giveaway for students in need of school supplies on Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Philadelphia County

3rd District Back-to-School Backpack Drive and School Supplies Giveaway: The City of Philadelphia is hosting a backpack and school supply giveaway at 606 South 52nd St. from 12 to 2 p.m. on Aug. 26.

14th Annual Backpack Giveaway: The Concord School House and Upper Burying Ground, 6309 Germantown Ave., will provide free backpacks filled with school supplies for K-12 students residing in the Germantown and Mt. Airy neighborhoods starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Back 2 School Community Day: Conquerors Community Development Corporation and Victory Christian Center is holding a back-to-school event at 5220 Whitby Ave. on Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for families in southwest and west Philadelphia with children in grades K-12. The event includes refreshments, activities, and entertainment in addition to providing new backpacks and school supplies.

Back to School Story & Backpack Giveaway: The Free Library of Philadelphia is hosting a backpack giveaway at 2228 Cottman Ave. on Aug. 21 at 2 p.m.

Backpack Give-Away: The Free Library of Philadelphia is hosting a backpack giveaway at 6245 Ridge Ave. on Aug. 23 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Union County

Bring Your Own Backpack School Supply Giveaway: The McCann School of Business and Technology, 7495 Westbranch Hwy., Lewisburg, invites students to bring their backpacks to campus on Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. so they can be filled with needed school supplies.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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