DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As parents everywhere are feeling the impact of higher prices because of inflation, a Dayton child care center is helping parents send their kids back to school with the supplies they need.

The Little Hearts School House Early Learning Academy and its Mentoring and Community Services Program held an annual free community block party to make sure kids are set with what they need to start the school year.

“We can’t house every child in the City of Dayton at Little Hearts, but what we can do is give back to as many as we can and make sure everybody has a successful year this school year,” Little Hearts owner Elisha Osama said.

Little Hearts gave away 300 backpacks and school supplies to every child at the block party. Community partners were also there with resources for parents, including the Dayton Metro Library, Miami Valley Works, Catholic Social Services and the Community Blood Center.

Vice Chair of Little Hearts Mentoring and Community Services Tomeka Cooley-Pettus said between the pandemic and impact of inflation, it’s been challenging for parents to make ends meet.

“We understand that people, especially our children, need supplies to make it throughout the year,” Cooley-Pettus said. “Not only supplies for children, but the parents need to know that they actually have help in the communities.”

For parents like Erika Holloway, who is a mom of three, she said support like this makes all the difference for families.

“It means a lot because this community, especially, we need it,” Holloway said. “We need as much as as much help, but as much, you know, giving and just stuff for kids to do, especially in the summertime. So it means a lot to us.”

“When a family is in struggle, the child struggles as well, so how we beat that is by joining together in a mission, one voice to say we are here for you,” Cooley-Pettus said.

Little Hearts is a preschool and child care program for ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. Once kids age out, they can attend their Mentoring and Community Services program for help on homework, college applications and finding jobs.