Few are the children who would desire, on this first day of July, to give serious thought of returning to the classroom. But for many parents, it’s a thought that comes early, with serious implications and more than a bit of anxiety.

The cost of outfitting a child for the new school year is one that escalates yearly, and one that even with the most prudent of planning can force a hardship on families.

For many families, that hardship is lessened by the volunteers and donations that will fuel the Back 2 School festival in August.

Local residents and the groups Quiet Givers, The Children’s Council, the Western Youth Network, Hospitality House and others hatched the idea of a countywide free back-to-school supplies festival. And while about 500 children attended its first year, this year the festival expects to meet the needs of about 1,000.

Funding and staffing this event requires a community effort from both individuals and business partners. Indeed, there is room for each of us to help, and you can find those opportunities at back2schoolfestiva.org.

On July 4, look for opportunities to help during the Pack the Bus launch, as volunteers will offer collection opportunities — and a chance to view the buses — during both Boone’s and Blowing Rock’s Fourth of July parades Saturday.

And if early July is yet a bit early for you to begin thinking about school supplies, look for the buses between now and Aug. 4 where they’ll be parked at Yadkin Bank on Blowing Rock Road and New Market Centre.

The buses will be available, video monitored and open for you to deliver the supplies that will make a difference in the lives of our local children.