The City of Dallas Mayor's "Back-to-School" Fair, is a collaborative effort between Dallas area schools, public health department, state agencies, non-profits, corporations, and volunteers. The event is solely funded with private cash donations and in kind contributions. The fair brings together the resources of many agencies into one convenient, "one-stop" destination for Dallas children and their families. This citywide event is free to economically disadvantaged school-age children who meet the federal income poverty guidelines. And, it is open to children who live in the city of Dallas and will attend Dallas area public schools during the 2008-2009 school year.
The Mayor's "Back-to-School" Fair began in 1997 as a result of a federally funded drug prevention program. Over the course of the last ten years, and as the result of generous funding from local businesses and foundations, the fair evolved into a comprehensive event that not only focuses on drug-prevention, but also on helping students with many of their school-related needs. The purpose of the fair is to reduce the number of students who do not return to school on time due to lack of school supplies and health services. Additionally, the fair provides an opportunity to increase awareness and availability of education, health, and social services for parents and guardians of school-age children.
According to the Dallas Independent School District Community Relations Department, more than ninety percent of Dallas' public school children are living below the poverty level. Many families are not always able to provide their children with mandatory immunizations or required school supplies. In an effort to address this crisis, the City of Dallas has continued to coordinate the annual “Back-to-School” Fair.