Free School Supplies in Johnson City, Bristol, and Kingsport: Back to School Events 2021

For many families across East Tennessee, this time of excitement and anticipation can quickly turn to worry and sorrow, when they realize they won’t be able to afford new school supplies. As any parent knows, there’s almost nothing more heart-wrenching than disappointing a child.

Whether you find yourself in need this school year, or you are able to donate to this worthy cause, these back-to-school events near Johnson City throughout the Tri-Cities region provide free school supplies to families who need it most.

Free school supplies and back to school events in Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport, and Tri-Cities

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Free School Supplies in Tri-Cities 2021

Mission of Hope

This is a regional ministry providing school supplies for over 12,000 students in 28 rural schools, throughout East Tennessee. Mission of Hope donates all supplies directly to the schools, and with serving such a large area, tons of donations are needed.

Back to School Events in Johnson City and Washington County

Back to School Picnic by Good Samaritan Ministries

This free back-to-school program assists low-income families with clothing, school supplies, and other necessities for back to school. The supplies are distributed at a fun picnic event with games, food, entertainment, and more!

Pre-registration for the July picnic is required. Donations are accepted year-round.

Operation School Bus

Each year, this fantastic program helps 75 local teens in need prepare for the school year with free clothes, undergarments, toiletries, and a fully-stocked backpack. 25 teens will be chosen from each Washington, Sullivan, and Carter counties.

Families must apply for the program in advance ad items will be given out in July.

Bristol, Kingsport, and Sullivan County

Hope Back to School Giveaway

  • Location: 618 Watauga St., Kingsport
  • Date: July 31, 2021

Event attendees will receive lunch and a brand new backpack stuffed with school supplies! In addition to supply donations, Hope also needs volunteers to help set up and distribute items at the big event.

This event doesn’t require pre-registration and supplies will be distributed on a first come first serve basis.

Operation School Bus

This is a joint program for Sullivan, Washington, and Carter counties. for full details, view the Johnson City section of this article.

Free school supplies and back to school events in Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport, and Tri-Cities 2

Carter County

Back-2-School Bash

Due to current events, the big school supply distribution event has been canceled this year. Instead, the supplies will be given directly to the schools.

You can contact your child’s school directly if you need help with supplies or wish to donate.

Over 1,000 backpacks fully stocked with school supplies will be given away. There will also be games, food, health and education resources, and more! This event is first-come, first-serve, and is open to all in Carter County.

Harmony Free Will Baptist Church

  • Location: HFWBC, Hampton
  • Date: TBA, 2021

School-aged kids will go home with a fully-stocked backpack and new undergarments. All other games and events have been canceled this year due to current events. Children and their families will enjoy free food, games, activities, and more.

Operation School Bus

This is a joint program for Carter, Sullivan, and Washington counties. View the Johnson City section above for full details.

Greene County

Appalachian Helping Hands

  • Phone: (423) 636-0098
  • Distribution Date: August, 2021

Appalachian helping hands will be distributing supply-filled backpacks to in-need families on Thursdays and Saturdays in August, while supplies last. Contact their main office for more details.

The bulk of the backpacks are being supplied by Cedar Creek Presbyterian Church, but they always welcome more donations. They also accept year-round donations of food, clothing, and more!

Hancock County

Mission of Hope

See above.

Hawkins County

Hawkins County Public Schools

Contact your child’s school directly if you need help with free school supplies or wish to donate.

Each individual school in Hawkins County will be hosting its own back-to-school bash featuring games, food, and in many cases, free supplies. Contact your individual school for more details.

Johnson County

Old Mill Ministries Back to School Bash

  • Location: Mountain City
  • Date: July 31, 2021

Due to current events, this is a drive-thru back-to-school event for 2021. All attending children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies and a free bag lunch. There will also be fun games and activities to enjoy!

Contact the ministry to donate. They also accept clothing and household donations year-round.

Unicoi County

Mission of Hope

See the listing above.

Wishing you a happy and fun-filled school year!

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Written By
Erica Cardinal
Erica is a long-time resident of East TN and the founder of East TN Family Fun. She's also a sucker for a good adventure. Together with her hubs and kiddos, she spends her time exploring, homeschooling, and making memories.

7 thoughts on “Free School Supplies in Johnson City, Bristol, and Kingsport: Back to School Events 2021”

  1. Really need to know the dates for places close to Jonesborough. We just moved here and have 3 kids in 1st, 2nd and 4th grades and we love live on a fixed income. Thanks and God Bless Everyone who has donated to make this possible.

    • Not every area has a large distribution event. In many areas, the needed supplies are donated directly to the school, an the school distributes them to the students on a need basis. I am not aware of any large giveaway events in Jonesborough, so I would contact each of your child’s schools directly, to see if they distribute supplies there.

  2. I have two grandsons that just moved here under stressful situation and in desperate need of school supplies. Can anyone help us.

    • Since school has already started most places, I would contact the school directly. They most likely already have a plan in place for families in your situation. The school social worker will also be able to connect you with additional resources your family may need. I will be praying for you.

  3. I wish stewart county dover tn had more options of help not only for schooling but help with electric help with with everything theirs not a very wide selection for help and only certain ones qualify every one should qualify with how this government is going. I always see other towns places doing lots of things to help their community i wish dover tn would do more. Love the place but need more resources.


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