There is a critical shortage of school supplies and backpacks in our area, affecting more than 6,500 kids. However, there is a big effort to get them the tools they need to succeed.

Kids involved with a summer program through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis stuffed scissors, notebooks, folders, rulers, pencils, pens, and other supplies into backpacks on Thursday.

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All of the backpacks should reach more than 500 kids in the area, and the kids helping out at the event got to take a backpack home for themselves.

Almost 8,000 people from St. Louis REALTORS took on gathering all of the supplies. Flint Fowler, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, says getting the tools to hundreds of them today could make a big difference in their education.

"Perhaps their families are not in a position to buy materials or they're just a little slow in getting them," Fowler said. "They need the best start that they can get and having the supplies with them on the first day helps to make sure that they're prepared to do well."

"And it really helps the teachers, too, because we all know teachers are so unbelievable and if a child doesn't have the supplies they need, they'll go into their own pocket," said Candice Coleman, director of public relations and marketing at St. Louis REALTORS.

St. Louis REALTORS is accepting donations until August 3. The supplies donated will then be stored at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis so that kids can restock their bags throughout the school year.