(Last Updated On: September 21, 2017)
Back to School season is already upon us! If you’re low income, shelling out $200-$400 per student for school supplies can be overwhelming or maybe even impossible. Fortunately, there are several organizations that can help you save money on supplies during this hectic back to school season!
School supplies are expensive! It’s been estimated that these annual purchases cost $200 per elementary student and up to $375 for high school students! Americans as a whole are expected to spend $83.6 BILLION on back to school supplies this year!
Get backpacks and supplies for FREE!
The Kids in Need Foundation provides free supplies to communities where 70% or more of the children participate in a federal nutrition program, such as the National School Lunch Program. This program is available through these affiliates.
The Salvation Army provides back-to-school assistance for low income families. Assistance may include backpacks, school supplies, shoes and/or clothes! In many areas, the application period begins in July!
Operation Homefront provides military families with school supplies through the Back-to-School Brigade. They distributed over 25,000 backpacks last year! The supplies are distributed at official Back-to-School Brigade events.
Homeless students who receive free weekly tutoring from School on Wheels (in California) can also receive backpacks and school supplies! The agency will also assist with helping families locate lost school records and assist with school enrollment.
You can get MORE free school supplies and clothes in your local community!
There are many nationwide organizations (such as Office Depot) that assemble backpacks for local communities. However, these organizations send those supplies to local community action agencies, who then pass the supplies on to local families.
The best place to find FREE school supplies is to search in your local area. I’m happy to help with that! Just leave me a message in the comments and let me know what city I should search for! Be sure to let me know if you need clothes, school supplies or both!
Here are the areas we’ve researched so far:
- New York
- North Carolina
You can find FREE back to school clothes!
Clothing is one of the most expensive parts of the back-to-school preparation. If your child is in need of an affordable school wardrobe (or school uniforms), check out these helpful resources:
Clothing swaps are a great place to find affordalble, gently used clothing. Bring what you don’t need – take home what you do!
Cragislist, Freecycle and local “Buy Nothing” groups are great places to find free clothing also.
Teachers can get free supplies, too!
The Kids in Need Foundation provides two large boxes of essential items (like pencils, scissors, paper and notebooks) to teachers who serve in communities where at least 70% of the students receive free or reduced price lunches. Supplies are limited! Apply here by August 14!