SAN JUAN — Tax-free weekend begins today, but several students got a head start during San Juan’s National Night Out at Mayfield Park.
Usually held the first weekend of August, the yearly event that eliminates sales tax on qualifying school items such as clothing, shoes, backpacks and other items that are priced $100 or less, has been moved this year to the second weekend.
Jorge Zambrano, a personal injury lawyer who practices in McAllen always wanted to give back to his community and not only took advantage of the date change but teamed with the San Juan National Night Out. Zambrano is also the creator of the “Shoot for the Stars Foundation,” a nonprofit organization to help meet the needs of students from the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo area.
“I want to emphasize the importance of education for them (students) to hopefully become successful in society,” Zambrano said. “For some families and their socioeconomics, this donation is for those who can’t purchase all the children’s supplies.”
Last year, Zambrano and the foundation handed out 100 backpacks. This year nearly 500 backpacks were given to students. The backpacks included many school-supply list essentials like binders, notebooks, composition books, pens pencils and crayons for primary and secondary students within the PSJA school district.
Approximately 40 students from PSJA North volunteered, giving out the backpacks to the children including sisters Kasandra and Krystal Elizondo, who are both on student council and always help out the community by assisting in various projects.
“Helping other people is great. When we’re in need, there’s other people to help us, and it’s giving back to the community in various ways.” the sisters said jointly.
As part of the giveaway, families were entered in a raffle to receive a 32-inch television.
Pharr residents, Joaquin and Nadia Torres attended the giveaway with their five children to receive the backpacks and enjoy a family night altogether.
Another Pharr resident, Rosie Ibarra also attended the giveaway with her three children and said that the event is awesome.
“This event is good, especially for a lot of kids, who can’t afford the supplies.” Ibarra said.
Zambrano added, “Our goal is to continue being involved in the community and expand to other cities.”
For families that will be shopping this weekend to file out their rest of their school supply lists, they can save about $8 for every $100 they spend.
Some stores have also extended hours this weekend, such as JC Penney which will be open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. In addition, for each pack of kids’ socks or underwear sold through Aug. 15, JC Penney will donate a pack to to help kids in need— up to 750,000 pairs.
This year, shoppers will save an estimated $87 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday.
• 81 percent of respondents plan to shop with mass merchants, 24 percent higher than 2016
• 28 percent plan to shop at off-price stores, up 10 percent
• 28 percent say they’ll shop traditional department stores, down from 54 percent
• 8 percent of parents will visit specialty clothing stores, down from 25 percent
What we’re buying
55 percent — Clothing and accessories, up 10 percent
14 percent — Computers and hardware, down 4 percent
Sales tax holidays matter
58 percent say they would increase spending on a sales tax holiday
40 percent say they would contact store manager if clerk forgets to deduct tax
44 percent would walk out of store if clerk forgets to deduct tax
Source: Deloitte, 10th annual back-to-school survey
What can I buy?
Lists of tax-free apparel and school supplies can be found here: www.TexasTaxHoliday.org