Thousands of families are expected to turn out for the fourth annual School is Cool event from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Harvey Convention Center.

Last year the event helped more than 3,000 families and gave away more than 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. Event organizers once again will hand out backbacks filled with school supplies, and they expect more than 100 vendors to set up booths at the event offering information and services.

Some of those services include health care screenings, immunizations, haircuts, uniforms and more. 

Volunteers spent the beginning of the week stuffing backpacks, including workers at Horizon Industries' East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind who stuffed backpacks for the event.

Lighthouse has stuffed more than 900 backpacks so far, according to a news release.

"I enjoy doing my part to help with this event and help the kids in our community," William Bishop, Production Worker for Horizon Industries, said.

Lighthouse Marketing Manager Summer Tillson said it was a logical decision to offer to help stuff the bags and offer space for storage, since the group had been involved in the event for the past two years.

One of the last backpack pickups came from Smith County employees, which donated 117 backpacks, beating its prior year records of 102 in 2016 and 75 in 2015. The county employees also filled all of their backpacks with school supplies.

Other community sponsors include: The University of Texas at Tyler, ETMC, The Brookshire Grocery Company,  Altra Federal Credit Union, Tyler Independent School District, The Tyler Area Partnership 4 Education, The North East Texas Public Health District and more.

The backpacks will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Children must be present in order to receive a ticket for a backpack.

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Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on The Murder Tapes, Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.