A new school year will kick off later in August, and there are several back-to-school drives and donation opportunities taking place over the Aug. 5-7 weekend, including in Rice Village and in the Gulfton and Sharpstown areas.

Back-to-school drive and health fair slated for Aug. 6 in Sharpstown

The Alliance for Multicultural Community Services and PlazAmericas Mall will team up to host the 15th annual back-to-school drive Aug. 6 starting at 10 a.m. The event will take place at the PlazAmericas Mall, located at 7500 Bellaire Blvd., Houston.

The drive will supply 3,000 students with school supplies, books and other items, and the Houston Food Bank will provide 1,000 food boxes for families. The drive will also feature giveaways, community vendors, photo booths and other entertainment.

The Houston Health Department will be on-site to give free COVID-19 vaccines at the drive as well. Anyone who is interested can get vaccinated with no registration required, and attendees who get the booster dose are eligible for a $25 gift card.

Representatives from The Caring Foundation of Texas and UT Physicians will also be on-site to administer free blood pressure and glucose screenings at the event.

Officials with The Alliance said they are looking for volunteers to help set up the drive, greet guests and distribute school bags, among other duties. Those interested in volunteering can sign up here. Volunteers interested in helping on Aug. 5 to assemble backpacks and school supplies can sign up online.

Charities accepting donations

There are two opportunities over the Aug. 5-7 weekend for individuals to donate to other back-to-school causes.

The Gulfton storefront of the Houston Police Department, located at 6227 Southwest Freeway, Houston, is taking donations via Amazon for a back-to-school drive on Aug. 5.

Those interested in donating can follow this link to the Gulfton HPD's Amazon gift list, where they can buy supplies that will be given out to students. Officials said they hope to raise enough supplies for 800 children in the area.

The Rice Village Farmers Market will also accept donations for school supplies to help local nonprofit Houston Children's Charity.

Materials needed include scissors, pens, tissues, pencil boxes, pencils, hand sanitizer, glue, backpacks, dividers, folders, spiral notebooks, tape, rulers, planners, calculators, erasers, binders, notebook paper, map pencils, index cards, lunch boxes, flash drives, highlighters, crayons and markers.

Donors can buy a $20 backpack full of supplies to donate and get entered in a raffle. Donations can be made during the upcoming Aug. 7 market as well as the Aug. 21 market later this month.