Thousands of disadvantaged Katy ISD students will start school Aug. 25 with backpacks fully stocked with school supplies thanks to the Greater Houston YMCA's Operation Backpack.

The Katy Family YMCA and local businesses worked together to collect more than 2,000 backpacks with supplies to date for children whose families cannot afford them. Before school starts, the YMCA aims to collect 2,500 backpacks full of school supplies for students in all grade levels at 25 of the district's 58 schools.

Connie Stirgus, outreach coordinator for the Katy Family YMCA, said this is the 10th year the YMCA has done Operation Backpack. Donors were asked to buy a backpack, fill it with school supplies, write a note of encouragement and donate the filled backpack to their local YMCA, which would then distribute the backpacks to students with an identified need.

"It is to make sure that every child in the Greater Houston area starts school with supplies," Stirgus said. "So we try to make sure that the playing field is level for every child attending school."

Though the drive officially ended Aug. 10, Stirgus said the YMCA will continue to accept donations.

"I tell people Operation Backpack is the gift that keeps on giving," she said. "The drive is over, but people continue to give."

Several Katy area businesses have joined the YMCA in the effort to provide students with the tools they need to start the school year.

State Farm Agent Matt Schomburg hosted the Taste of Katy Tailgate at his office in downtown Katy to benefit Operation Backpack. The event featured samples from Katy restaurants, music and games. Guests were asked to bring a filled backpack to donate to the YMCA.

Keller Williams Signature Realty on S. Fry Road donated 1,000 backpacks full of supplies.

All Greater Houston area Tradition Bank locations, including the two Katy locations at Grand Parkway and Pin Oak, will serve as donation sites for Operation Backpack until Friday, Aug. 22.

"I just want to thank everyone out there who supports us and helps us," Stirgus said. "There is a great need out there, the need in the Katy area is growing."