The Salvation Army will host its annual Back to School Basics July 26.

The event will give out 600 backpacks for free across Pottawatomie, Seminole and Lincoln Counties.

“We at The Salvation Army know all too well that for many families the rising costs of school supplies, clothing and basic care for children becomes exceedingly difficult to provide the items needed for a child to feel successful in school,” Captain Jamie Clay said in a press release.

Inside of the backpacks include pencils, scissors, notebooks, notebook paper and other school materials.

Parents or guardians of kindergarten through 8th grade students must bring three documents with them: a picture I.D.; proof of income by pay stub, social security award letter or SNAP printout from DHS; and a verification of address, which could include a utility bill, lease or mail in the parent’s name.

Advisory Board member Clifford Lehmann said this event has been going for the past 12-15 years.

“It tugs at your heart, it really does,” Lehmann said. “When you see the smiles on the parents’ and the kids...they’re just jumping up and down. It just really touches you, it really does.”

Backpacks will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis, and will be separated between k-5th and 6-8th grade. The Salvation Army will also provide spiritual support in the form of prayer requests.

The event will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Shawnee Salvation Army at 200 E. 9th St.