Girl Scout, Cristabella Camarena (center) hands a free backpack to guests at the Badges and Backpacks event in 2019. The Pima County Sheriff's Department is continuing the annual event this year as a drive-thru distribution.

If your kids aren't already back in school, in just a few weeks they will be. 

We're asking ourselves the same question, "what happened to summer?"

Tucson groups are helping kids gear up for school by distributing thousands of free backpacks filled with school supplies and hosting a sale where you score deals on clothing and accessories.  Here's where you can find them: 

Badges and Backpacks

The Pima County Sheriff's Department annual back-to-school event will continue this year as a drive-thru event to distribute 3,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. Kids can also receive a free bike helmet from Tucson Medical Center, and free books from Bookmans. Princesses from Tucson Ever After, Dusty from the Tucson Roadrunners, Miss Tucson Abby Charles, the Arizona Ghostbusters, animals from TRAK Tucson and first responders and other costumed characters will be on hand to greet kids as they cruise along the route.

There will also be a walk-up station for anyone who is walking, biking or using public transportation. Masks will be required for anyone picking up a backpack who is not in a vehicle. 

When: Saturday, July 24, 8-11 a.m. 

Where: Pima Community College West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road

Find more information on the Pima County Sheriff's Department website


Ward 4 Back to School Bash

Drive-thru and pick up free backpacks stuffed with school supplies at the 20th annual Ward 4 Back-to-School Bash. A total of 750 backpacks will be distributed and are first-come, first serve. Families are asked to remain in their vehicles while picking up supplies and students must be present to receive a backpack. 

When: Wednesday, July 28, 4-6 p.m. 

Editor's note: This event was originally scheduled for Saturday, July 24 but was postponed due to weather. 

Where: Ward 4 Council Office, 8123 E. Poinciana Drive

Find more information on the Facebook event page or Ward 4 newsletter


10th Annual Kidz Expo & Back-to-School Event

3,000 backpacks, Spanish textbooks and booster seats, will be distributed to children at this annual event which will also have family-friendly activities, live entertainment, raffles and resources from other vendors.

When: Saturday, July 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Where: Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave 

Find more information on the Arizona Bilingual website


Marana Back-to-School Resource Fair 

Marana Unified School District students can pick up free backpacks and school supplies to district families at a drive-thru event. Drivers are asked to pull into the parking lot of the Early Resource Learning Center and remain in their vehicles. Staff members will distribute supplies to families at the loop. 

When: Thursday, July 22, 3-7 p.m. 

Where: Marana Early Resource Learning Center, 7651 N. Oldfather Drive 

Find more information on the Marana Unified School District website. 


Just Between Friends Back-To-School Consignment Sale 

Score deals on children's clothing, shoes, toys, books, games, baby equipment, furniture and tons of other items for kids at the massive Just Between Friends consignment sale. Families can save between 50% to 90% on gently used items, or you can earn money by selling items your children have outgrown or no longer use as a consignor. 

Tickets are encouraged and can be reserved online here

When: Thursday, July 29, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, July 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, July 31, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Early bird entry is available on Thursday, July 29 for $5. 

Where: Northcentre Mall, 4881 N. Stone Ave. The sale will take place in the former Stein Mart. 

Cost: Admission is free. Early bird entry is available on Thursday, July 29 for $5. 

Find more information about the event and how to become a consignor on the Just Between Friends Tucson website.


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