The Problem of Poverty in Schools: Helping Kids Get School Supplies
Many kids head out to school each day lacking the proper supplies. Thankfully there are ways you can help.
Keyword(s): average cost of school supplies
Every year in the fall, over 56 million kids return to grade schools and high schools. Around the same time, parents receive a notice from those schools about what supplies their children will need. The days of throwing some No. 2 pencils and a couple of notebooks into a back are long gone.
Now, parents receive extensive lists that can include multiple types of pens, pencils, craft supplies, and even USB drives. For cash-strapped families, these supply lists often prove a huge financial burden.
You may wonder what you can do to help. Before we jump into what you can do, let’s take a quick look at the average cost of school supplies and the number of kids in poverty.
Average Cost of School Supplies
While the cost of school supplies will vary from school district to school district, the average cost hovers around $700 per student. That means a family with three kids headed back to school faces a $2100 bill just for supplies. That comes before any other back-to-school shopping.
To put those numbers in some kind of context, the national average for a mortgage payment runs around $1000.
Understanding why so many kids need help getting school supplies begins with understanding just how many kids live in poverty. The exact definition of poverty varies by family size, but an example can help shed some light. A four-person family with two kids lives in poverty if the parents earn around $25,000 or less a year.
About 17.5% or around 9.8 million school-age kids live in poverty. For our family of four, school supplies will cost about $1400. That’s around 68% of their monthly income before taxes, assuming they make $25,000 a year.
How to Help
That brings us back around to how you can help kids get their school supplies. If you know a family that’s struggling financially, you can suggest that you’ll get the kids their school supplies. This is best done by saying you want to support their education.
You can also make donations of common school supplies to local charities. These charities often help families living in poverty get their kids ready for the school year.
If you’re looking to make a bigger difference, you can work with organizations that prepare school kits in bulk. You can take advantage of the cost savings from bulk purchases and donate the lot to a specific school or organization.
Parting Thoughts on Helping Kids Get School Supplies
Nearly 10 million kids live below the poverty line and even more in low-income families. That means the average cost of school supplies can prove a difficult barrier for families.
Fortunately, this is a problem that lets you take direct actions to help.
You can help individual families by buying the kids’ school supplies right off their lists. You can donate specific items to local charities. You can even buy pre-made school kits in bulk and donate those.
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