As the school year begins, many students find themselves becoming anxious about finding their new classrooms, getting to know their teacher and making friends. Having the proper school supplies for academic success should not be on their minds during this exciting time of year.
Each year, United Way of Bartholomew County teams up with a network of community organizations to ensure every student in Bartholomew County has the proper supplies for success through the Bartholomew County School Supply Assistance Program.
The BCSSAP committee is made up of not-for-profits, businesses, and service organizations that work nearly year round to make this possible, giving out an average of 2,000 back packs as the school year kicks off.
Last year, the group gave out over 25,000 pencils, 12,000 folders, 7,200 pens, 6,900 highlighters and 6,400 glue sticks, to make a few items. Annually, volunteers sort, package, and hand out approximately 83,000 individual supplies.
BCSSAP is a critical resource for hundreds local families, who can typically make ends meet each month, but have a hard time with additional expenses like school supplies.
“If BCSSAP weren’t able to help families by providing school supplies, many of the families would have worry and struggle getting their children the supplies they need,” said Alicia Monroe, Volunteer Action Center Director.
Nationwide, it is estimated that parents spend about $26.5 billion on K-12 back to school necessities each year. That breaks down to an average of $669.28 per child, which is up 5 percent from last year, according to data from the National Retail Federation.
Those numbers are staggering, especially for families who are already struggling to provide basic needs for their children.
The number of families who request assistance is expected to rise this year as the COVID-19 pandemic caused job loss or a reduction of hours for families in the community.
“The increase in requests due to the affect COVID-19 is predicted to be equivalent of the requests after the 2008 flood. BCSSAP is committed to ensuring those children receive the supplies needed and relieving worry from these families,” Alicia said.
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