As many as 12,000 of Tarrant County's youngest and most vulnerable residents are expected to fill the Amon G. Carter Exhibit Hall in Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum next week to get ready for school. The eighth annual Back2School Roundup, a countywide collaboration that started in 2005, will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8.

The Roundup, held before the start of school each year, caters to families who qualify for the state's free and reduced lunch program. Children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade who attend the event receive much-needed school supplies, immunizations, dental and vision screenings, a new backpack and a haircut. And their parents learn more about county programs to help the impoverished.

According to the Tarrant Area Food Bank, one in five children in Tarrant County live in extreme poverty. Nearly 11,000 school supply packs were distributed during last year's event, and organizers anticipate even higher participation this year as Tarrant County families continue to struggle in the wake of the recession.

Event organizers are also looking to the community for donations to support the Roundup. A tax-deductible donation of $25 can provide an elementary student with a free backpack, school supplies, shoes, immunizations and more.

To pre-register for the Roundup next week (REQUIRED!) — or to learn more about donating to the cause — visit