Thanks to popular demand, the Bringing Hope Thrift Store School Supply Drive is returning for 2018.

Bringing Hope Thrift Store Owner Amanda Sharp said the drive handed out 100 backpacks filled with school supplies for needy children in 2017 and looks to help more students in 2018.

“Last year was such a success and a blessing,” Sharp said. “We gave away 100 backpacks full of school supplies. Whenever we started planning for the idea, we thought we would just have a few backpacks to help out. The Lord had such a bigger plan and we ended up doing 100 last year. We hope to do that many this year.”

As part of the supply drive, Bringing Hope asks those with the means to donate backpacks, paper, pens, pencils, spiral notebooks and a variety of other supplies (see complete list below) for the upcoming school year. Thursday, Sharpe announced on the Bringing Hope Facebook page that the drive would be returning and hopes word of mouth will quickly spread.

“We’re trying to get the word out to let people know we’re doing it again,” Sharp said. “Back to school time is so stressful for so many families. It’s families that we help on a regular basis, our customer base - our family here. We saw them struggling at school time and we had to step in and make a difference somehow.”

A few weeks from now, Bringing Hope will announce a sign-up date for parents in need and will have a giveaway day in the first week of August. Along with school supplies, the drive also seeks to provide hygiene products to middle and high school students. The supply will also offer clothing vouchers for students that anyone can purchase at the Bringing Hope Thrift Store, located at 720 W. Commerce.

“We have a lot of clothing vouchers that we were able to do where they could pick out five outfits to start school in. That was pretty huge last year,” Sharp said. “… We’re just leaving it in the Lord’s hands. He’s in control of it, not us. We can’t say we’re going to serve a certain number of kids. It’s all about how much stuff we have and the Lord will bless you. He will make sure you have just enough.”

Although providing 100 children with school supplies last year, Sharp takes little credit and, instead, credited the community of Brownwood and surrounding areas for making it a success. She hopes that same charitable attitude carries over to this year.

“It’s the most incredible thing to be used by the Lord and be a part of blessing other people. We don’t really do it,” Sharp said. “It’s the donations that come to us. We just distribute them. The Lord uses us and the incredible thing is we get to be a part of it. To see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they get their backpacks, there is nothing like it. I’m a momma so I get it.

“There is nothing I have ever seen like the heart of the people in Brownwood and the givers here. To me, it’s an incredible community. I was born and raised here and this is special to me.”

The following are the supplies requested by Bringing Hope Thrift Store: backpacks, paper (wide ruled), pens (black, blue, red),No. 2 pencils, spiral notebooks, composition notebooks, erasers, highlighters, rulers, markers (washable), pocket folders with brads, crayons, map pencils, binders, scissors, hand sanitizer and tissues.