ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The upcoming school year is right around the corner and one community is helping is helping out in a pretty big way with a back-to-school bash. They are setting up thousands of kids in the Capital Region for success.

Many students are zipping into a new school year with brand new folders, pencils, copybooks and more.

 The Metropolitan Baptist Church in Albany gifted 1,000 backpacks on Friday. They were filled with school supplies for families with students in Grades PreK-12.

Ava Conyers says she is now ready for her first day.

“This day is a dream come true, I can’t wait to show my friends in class,“ said Conyers.

The church partnered with Metropolitan Community Group, Inc., CDPHP, Brown & Weinraub, PLLC, Sano-Rubin, The Warren & Denyse Mackey Foundation, Hoods House of Hoops, Humana, Delta Dental, Catholic Charities and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center to

“We stress the importance and priority of education, but we have to equip them and give them the tools necessary to be successful,” said Senior Pastor Damone Paul Johnson of the Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Johnson says this event was a way to prepare the youth in the community to excel in their academics.

Local community health partners provided wellness screenings (pediatric and adult), information regarding childhood immunizations, and a myriad of additional resources.

Local elementary and middle school officials were on site to distribute enrollment materials and answer questions.

They also had free food provided by Allie B’s Cozy Kitchen and Little Big Fatz food truck.

You can’t forget about getting a haircut before the first day of school. Local barber Kevin Love gave out free haircuts for the kids as well.

“This is really great because we are going through a pandemic, so this is a really good thing that they are doing this to help families out,” said Shaquaya Lacey.

Lacey’s son Aidan is counting down the days until he can get back into the classroom. She says when it comes to Aidan wearing a mask in school, she is comfortable with it.

“I suggest they wear a mask because they can’t get the vaccine,” said Lacey.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says taking precautions in school is key to avoid kids going back to virtual learning.  

“It’s easy we shouldn’t be fighting about mask wearing. Our kids want to be in classroom, and we shouldn’t be putting them in the middle of this debate,” said Mayor Sheehan.