EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Every student in East Hartford will have everything they need when the school year starts, thanks to backpacks full of donated school supplies. Volunteers started filling 2,000 backpacks Monday morning in the East Hartford Middle School cafeteria.

“We have markers, notebooks, crayons, highlighters,” said Michelle Texidor, the family and community partnership coordinator for East Hartford Schools. “We have so many things going in all of our backpacks.”

It’s all to help make back-to-school shopping a little more affordable for families who are struggling. With inflation still driving up prices, Americans are expected to spend more than $41 billion on back-to-school shopping this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

“So yes, it can be a little tough for all of our families, but we have great partners, great vendors, and we have so many volunteers who have donated so many school supplies to our students here in East Hartford,” Texidor said.

That help comes from individual donors and big companies. American Eagle Financial Credit Union, headquartered in East Hartford, sent a group of volunteers.

“Part of our mission statement is enriching the lives of others, so it’s really important for us to give back to our community, and that’s the reason why we’re here today,” said Carrie Stewart, American Eagle Financial Credit Union regional manager.

Knowing that every student will have the necessary supplies brings everyone to this event, which started in 2016.

“It makes me feel so happy, and my heart feels super, super excited,” Texidor said. “I can’t wait to see all of our students on their first day of school with their backpacks.”

It will take three full days to stuff all 2,000 backpacks, which will be given away at a rally on the town green between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17.