HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke’s Hispanic community came together Saturday to give their children a back to school send off they’ll never forget.

Jibaritos Sports Club in downtown Holyoke hosted Sunday’s Back to School Event. Haircuts for the children were offered along with 200 backpacks and an abundance of school supplies. All free of charge, thanks to club owner Monica Velez.

“I did it because last year with the pandemic, all the kids had a hard time,” said Velez. “They stayed home, so I wanted to do something for them. Everybody chipped in, everybody, and stores they helped us a lot.”

And the small army of barbers and hairdressers all donated their time to help prepare the children for their return to school on August 23.

“I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful activity for all the kids.,” said Edna of Holyoke. “An opportunity for parents, together with their kids, and other parents of kids giving to school.”

Velez told 22News she was gratified so many families accepted her back to school gesture. And that so many members of the community generously donated their time and their equipment to do the right thing for these children.