When Laura Shoaff arrived at the National Guard Armory, 200 Main, at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, people already were waiting in line.

Thursday was distribution day for Backpacks for Kids, a program by First Call for Help that provides backpacks, school supplies and hygiene products for families in need. It was the first year the distribution has taken place at the armory.

First Call gave out 400 backpacks Thursday to families who had registered; on Friday, remaining backpacks were available to those who didn’t register with the Backpacks for Kids program.

It makes for a long day for Shoaff and the handful of volunteers, but Corrie Zimmerman said it’s something she loves to do. She’s volunteered with the backpack distribution for three years.

“Anything having to do with children. I love giving back to the community and the kids and helping family,” she said.

Zimmerman handed out boxes of tissues and consulted grade lists to distribute classroom supplies such as sticky notes, composition books and eraser tops as families moved through the line.

Students in middle and high school also could add hygiene products like deodorant and shampoo, and Delta Dental donated 700 dental kits.

Zimmerman works for Early Childhood Connections, so she has gotten to know some of the families who sign up for the program.

“If I didn’t see them come through, then I try to call them to get them on Friday,” she said.

Any leftover backpacks will be available for pickup until noon today for families who did not register.

Sabrina Adkins and two of her three children, 10th-grader Sierra and third-grader Daniel, picked up their backpacks to get ready for school. The family recently moved back to Hays after living in Alabama for two years.

“It’s such a good thing, especially for us in transition because money’s tight when you move,” Sabrina said.

“And having three kids, two in high school and a third-grader on one income, this is a big deal. This helps.”