DECATUR, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Many kids in our area will go back to class next week, and one Decatur woman is working extra hard to make sure her community is ready.

Kristine Davis is the Decatur School District’s social worker. She said it’s rare to have a social worker in a district this small, but in Decatur, it’s a necessity.

Davis said the role allows her to close the poverty gap for the district’s families through at-home visits. Over the last few weeks, Davis has been bringing backpacks full of school supplies directly to student’s front doors, overcoming things like transportation barriers.

The backpacks and supplies have been gathered over the years from community partners like United Way, churches, local businesses and school employees.

Davis doesn’t any kid to go to class embarrassed because they don’t have a backpack or supplies for the school year.

Davis said the average supply-filled backpack costs around one hundred dollars, which is more money than many Decatur families have right now to spend on school supplies. She said if you’re in need of supplies for your children, to reach out to your kid’s school and they will help you get them what they need.

Once these supplies are given out, Davis will continue her at-home visits throughout the school year. She regularly brings families food, clothing, toilet paper, and laundry detergent.

Decatur teachers just finished a ‘poverty training’ led by Davis. During the training, Davis talks to teachers about what poverty can look like for students, so if they see a kid struggling, the school is able to step in and help.

For example, Davis wants teachers to pay attention to their students’ clothing. She said she’s seen kids come in to class with duct tape holing their shoes together or clothes that haven’t been washed.

“I want to be sure that they understand that that the majority of the families that they’re going to be serving in their classrooms, are the working poor. Their parents do have jobs, they just don’t make a lot of money,” said Davis.

Davis said the school has an in-house program called ‘Bright Futures’ that teachers can pledge money to throughout the year. This way, when they see a kid struggling, they have resources to help.

Decatur Schools also host a monthly food pantry and have even helped families find resources to help with household and medical bills.