(WSYR-TV) — With the beginning of a new school year right around the corner, families are looking to purchase school supplies for their kids.  

And while being able to afford or find the necessary supplies can be difficult for some families, Syracuse offers options for those who need help. One, in particular, is Mary Nelson’s Annual Youth Day and Barbeque, at the corner of S Salina St. and Wood Ave.

“Everything you want is free,” said Mary Nelson President and CEO of the Mary Nelson Center. “From household to backpacks to groceries to resources everything is free. It’s really a need, people are out here, they come here to pick up items and that’s what they want.”

Nelson said this started as a giveaway raffle of a little over 100 backpacks but its turned into much more.

“Now, I don’t do raffles, I do thousands and everyone who attends gets a backpack and school supplies,” said Nelson.  

The event was initially created for families to get the school supplies their kids need but food, household supplies, and various other resources are all now part of the day.

 “I want that backpack to have everything that child needs in it. We are doing so much for your child and your child and your child comes home and comes with a backpack do they have those resources? Do they have food? Do they have clothing? So I thought let’s do something more advanced, more taking care of the family,” said Nelson.

The event makes sure those families have an opportunity to succeed and thrive.