For lawyer Israel Medina and his law firm, it means a lot to give back to the community.

This year, they were able to do that again.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Medina Law Firm gave out free backpacks to students going into grades Pre-K through 12 Friday outside the law firm on 2651 Kermit Highway.

This year, 500 total backpacks that were filled with supplies were given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It’s just our way of giving back to the community,” Medina said. “Every year, it’s gotten bigger and bigger. The backpacks go faster and faster.”

Backpacks loaded with school supplies lined up and waiting to be donated by the Medina Law Firm on Friday morning. (Photo Courtesy of Bobby Joe Smith)

While the backpacks were gone in about 30 minutes this year, Medina said they had fewer backpacks this year compared to previous years.

“Sometimes we have more,” Medina said. “We got off to a late start this year. We organized all of this in a week. Last week, my staff organized everything and every year it changes just based on our needs and what we can do on a short amount of time. We lost track of time this year and ordered last minute.”

Last year, about 800 backpacks were given away at the Medina Law Firm.

“We were going to give a thousand this year,” Paralegal at the Medina Law Firm Teresa Rodriguez said. “We didn’t have the manpower this year.”

Still, for Medina and the rest of his staff, it means a lot to be able to help the community in any way they can.

“We had some tough times growing up,” Medina said. “When you’re able to give back and make a difference in somebody’s life, that’s great.”

The supplies that were in the backpacks included notebook paper, composition books, spirals, pens, pencils and rulers.

“Sometimes we’ll have highlighters as well, just depends on what supplies we can get our hands on,” Rodriguez said. “It’s pretty much basic stuff that students will need going into school.”

Medina praised his staff for their work on putting everything together.

“My staff is pretty good at gathering the supplies,” Medina said. “It’s the same amount of supplies for every backpack and we’ve done it that way every year.”

Not everyone in line was able to receive a backpack and with supplies running out fast, Medina said that just highlights the need in the community.

Medina Law Firm employee, Teresa Rodriquez hands several backpacks to a waiting vehicle on Friday morning. (Photo Courtesy of Bobby Joe Smith)

“We were supposed to start at 10 am People were parked out here at 6 am,” Medina said. “The line started backing traffic up so we decided to get started about 30 minutes earlier. All the backpacks were gone in 30 minutes. We’re trying to help everyone but we can’t help everyone. There’s always next year.”

It’s not the only community giveaway that the Medina Law Firm does as they also help give out turkeys for Thanksgiving.

“We do our Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway,” Medina said. “Last year, we gave away about 1,000 turkeys. Those were gone in two hours. We try to do as much as we can.”

Last week, the Gaven Norris Law Firm also had a backpack giveaway, one that’s been going on for about four years now.

“It was a coincidence,” Medina said. “Gaven and I have been friends for a long time. He’s like me. He’s got a big heart and wants to give back to the community. He just took on his own thing. I think it’s very great. I think every other business should do the same thing. There’s always going to be a need no matter what. We ran out of 500 backpacks in under an hour.”

Medina graduated from Permian High School in 2003.

“This is home,” Medina said. “Odessa is my home. I was born and raised here. This is another way for me to give back to the community that helped mold me and make me who I am today.”

It’s all worth it to see the reactions from the children that receive a backpack.

“We know there’s a big need in our community so being able to give out these backpacks to happy kids that come by, it brings a lot of joy,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a lot of work but we enjoy it every year.”

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