Local organizations help ease record back-to-school costs

SAN DIEGO — Families are expected to spend a record-breaking amount on back-to-school supplies and clothes this year.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), families plan to spend an average of $864 on school items, which is up about $15 compared to 2021. Back-to-school costs have been rising since the pandemic. Compared to 2019, families are spending an average of about $168 more.

Organizations in San Diego are coming together to help ease the cost burden of going back-to-school for families in the region.

SupplyBank.org is a state-wide organization that brought 10,000 back-to-school kits for homeless and low-income students in San Diego County.

On Saturday, 400 volunteers plan to fill 10,000 back-to-school kits at the San Diego Convention Center. The kits will be passed out to local schools to be given out to students this school year. It’s the first time the organization brought this assistance to San Diego, and they already want to bring it back next year.

‚ÄúThere’s a need everywhere. We brought this here because there’s a need here, there’s a need all over the state. We wanted to make sure we were serving the need,” said Tim Sbranti, the co-chair of the board of Supplybank.org.

Alethea Arguilez, executive director at First 5 San Diego, said children use crayons, colored pencils and notebooks to express themselves, “so it’s important to nurture all those aspects of development.”

“It goes beyond just the kit, the kit is just a starting point for a conversation,” Arguilez said.

The San Diego County Office of Education supports 42 local districts and said this year is more critical to help families than ever before.

According to the NRF, 38% of consumers in America said they are cutting costs in other areas to help afford back-to-school supplies and costs.

Local parent of two, Troy Ruffin, said he is doing the same and plans to utilize local organizations for assistance.

“I’m trying to save at least $200 a week so they can get extra clothes whatever we need for them,” Ruffin said. “Right now we do carpool to get to work now, so we are using the gas money that we save to get school supplies.”

Events in San Diego County:

  • Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Boys and Girls Club of San Marcos. 500 backpacks with school supplies will be given out. “Kids and their families from underserved communities in North County will receive free backpacks, school supplies and health care services at the annual Flapjacks for Backpacks event, presented by Boys & Girls Club of San Marcos on Saturday, Aug. 6, 7 am-11 am, at 1 Positive Place in San Marcos. (Note this is just down the street from the Breast Milk Drive in San Marcos on August 6 to support at-risk infants, who have been impacted by the formula shortage)
  • Saturday, Aug. 6 from 9 am – 12 pm at Armed Services YMCA San Diego. 500 military children will receive school supplies provided by American Legion Post 6, Travis Manion Foundation, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 552, and Operation Homefront. Military children ranging from Kindergarten through 9th grade in 40 zip codes will receive the items.
  • Saturday, 200 backpacks will be donated to children of service members who are preparing to start school this fall. The event, hosted by Semper Fi & America’s Fund, will be happening at the San Diego Zoo. Semper Fi & America’s Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides lifetime support to combat wounded veterans and their families. The organization was started in 2003 by military spouses and has helped over 28,000 service members to date.

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