As Israeli families start planning for the coming school year, two Chabad-Lubavitch social service organizations are offering free backpacks and school supplies to financially-strapped school children.

Colel Chabad, a charity established in 1788 by the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, last week opened nine locations across the country where parents can buy everything from backpacks to pencil sharpeners at a subsidized cost.

“It’s like a full-service stationary shop,” said Rabbi Mendy Blau, director of operations for Colel Chabad.

According to Blau, the seven-year-old initiative annually helps an estimated 3,000 schoolchildren.

Elsewhere in the country, the Yad B’Yad charitable organization directed by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yaakov Gloiberman stocked a Lod warehouse with some 40,000 backpacks to be distributed to needy children. Over the next few days, representatives of more than 200 regional welfare departments will pick up the backpacks – stocked with school supplies – and hand them out to the poorest of their communities.