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How to Get FREE School Supplies in 2023

How to Get FREE School Supplies in 2023

Back to School season 2023 is already upon us and we’ve found countless charities and assistance programs that will help you get free school supplies and clothes for your students. We know that low income families cannot realistically shell out $600 per student for new clothes and supplies, so we’ve been working hard to find every option for free or low-cost supplies this school year.

Nationwide Charities Offering Free School Supplies in 2023

There are many nationwide organizations that offer assistance with school supplies in 2023. If you need help, these are the first places I recommend going.

The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army provides back-to-school assistance for low-income families. Assistance may include backpacks, school supplies, shoes and/or clothes! It depends on what is donated and available in your area.

Basically, the Salvation Army gathers supplies from community donations and business partners. Those supplies are then distributed to eligible families across the United States who need help.

In many areas, the application period begins in July. You’ll need to contact your local Salvation Army chapter for more information about how to apply.

The Assistance League’s Operation School Bell.

Operation School Bell is a nationwide program by The Assistance League. This program helps low income students have school supplies and clothes. They also provide scholarships and other support for low income students.

There are Assistance League chapters all over the country. In order to get help, you’ll need to reach out to your local organization for application instructions.

Catholic Charities

Many Catholic Charities locations run school supply drives and then distribute the gathered items to families in need. These programs may be able to help you get free school clothes and free supplies, including backpacks, pens, binders, pencils, markers, erasers, highlighters and more.

The United Way

The United Way has offices across the country. Many of them organize school supply drives for their local communities! For more information on these programs, you will need to contact your local United Way office.

You can usually reach the United Way by calling their 211 helpline. This helpline can help you find other resources in your area as well.

Love in the Name of Christ (Love INC)

Love INC is another nationwide organization that may be able to assist with school supplies. It depends on the services offered by your local chapter. We were able to confirm school supply assistance from Love INC in Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, and several other states.

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul also offers free school clothes and supplies in many areas. Even if supplies are not available, you may be able to get free clothing vouchers that can be redeemed in their thrift stores. You’ll need to contact a St. Vincent de Paul affiliate in order to get more information about their offerings in your area.

Operation Homefront

Operation Homefront provides military families with school supplies through the Back-to-School Brigade. Since its inception, Operation Homefront has distributed over 465,000 backpacks! The supplies are distributed at official Back-to-School Brigade events.

Boys & Girls Clubs

If your child participates in your local Boys & Girls Clubs of America, then you may be able to get help with school supplies through that organization. They host annual Back2School campaigns to gather donations, so they may have some items available for your child.

Companies Offering Free School Supplies in 2023

Some businesses and companies offer assistance with school supplies. These are often run alongside promotions or used as opportunities to create a sense of goodwill in the community.

Although we appreciate the generosity of these businesses in helping families in need, we list companies separately from the non-profits. If you choose to get free school supplies from these companies, you need to be aware that you may be pressured into purchasing something.

Wireless Zone

Wireless Zone offers free backpacks filled with supplies every year. You have to pick up the backpack in-store at a certain day and time. They are only available while supplies last. There is a limit of one backpack per child.

The backpack giveaway occurs at the same time nationwide. You have to pick the items up in person on the specific day and time of the giveaway. In 2023, the giveaway will occur on Sunday, July 30 at 1pm.

At that time, you may be able to pick up a backpack full of free school supplies at participating locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The corporate office encourages everyone to call their local store beforehand to make sure that they are participating in this promotion.

Lerner & Rowe Injury Attorneys

Lerner & Rowe will distribute free school supplies in 2023. They are offering a free backpack that is stuffed with school supplies. To get one, your child has to attend an in-person event in one of seven cities around the United States.

DateStarting TimeLocationQuantity
July 19, 20233pmYuma County Fairgrounds
Yuma, Arizona
500 backpacks available
July 20, 20233pmIV Fairgrounds
El Centro, California
500 backpacks available
July 26, 20233pmExpo New Mexico Fairgrounds
Albuquerque, New Mexico
1,000 backpacks available
July 28, 20233pmPima County Fairgrounds
Tucson, Arizona
750 backpacks available
July 29, 202312pmMetro Auto Auction Parking Lot
Phoenix, Arizona
750 backpacks available
August 3, 20232pmDean & Barbara White Community Center
Merrillville, Indiana
750 backpacks available
August 5, 2023TBDTBD
Las Vegas, Nevada
1,000 backpacks available

Other Ways to Get Free School Supplies

If none of these options work for you, it’s okay. We’ve found other ways that you may be able to get free school supplies for your student!

School District

Many school districts have extra school supplies on hand for families who are experiencing a financial hardship. If you cannot afford school supplies and cannot get help from any of these organizations, please contact your school district.

Some districts employ social workers, counselors, or resource specialists specifically to help homeless and low income students get the help that they need. You’ll need to inquire with your local school about what services they provide.

Food Banks

Sometimes, food banks will offer free school supplies as well. It depends on donations and on the services that your local food bank offers, so you will need to contact them to check.

Even if your local food bank doesn’t help with school supplies, they may know about other community resources that do!

Other Ways to Get FREE School Clothes & Uniforms in 2023

Clothing is one of the most expensive parts of back-to-school preparation. If your child is in need of an affordable school wardrobe (or school uniforms), you may be able to get help through these free clothing voucher programs.

Clothing swaps are another great place to find affordable, gently used clothing. Bring what you don’t need – take home what you do!

If all else fails, you can also find free clothing on Craigslist, Freecycle and your local Buy Nothing groups.

FREE School Supplies for Teachers in 2023

It’s no secret that teachers pay out-of-pocket for many of the supplies used in classrooms around the country. Please don’t forget to tell the teachers in your life about these free resources.

Kids in Need Foundation

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 50% of the students receive free or reduced-price lunches. Supplies are limited! Apply here.

Target Circle

You can get a steep discount on school supplies when you link your school information to your Target Circle account. Don’t wait! You need to do this in time to have your teacher status verified before you shop.

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Local Organizations that Offer Free School Supplies

There are many organizations nationwide (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. There are many local events and donation programs that gather these supplies for low-income families.

We’ve done our best to research local organizations that can help but these organizations change every year. You will need to call and confirm that the agencies on this list are still participating in free school supply giveaways.




Homeless students who receive free weekly tutoring from School on Wheels (in California) can also receive backpacks and school supplies! Annually, they provide over 5,000 students with the tools they need to succeed in school! The agency will also assist with helping families locate lost school records and assist with school enrollment.







New York

North Carolina




We have found several organizations in Pennsylvania that offer free school supplies for low income families. There were too many agencies to list in this post, so we built a separate statewide directory of free school supplies in Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

South Carolina




Washington DC

Frequently Asked Questions about Free School Supplies

We get a lot of questions about free school supplies. In this section, we’ll review some of the most common ones.

Can I get free school supplies by mail in 2023?

Usually, you will have to pick up free school supplies in person. It is not very common to see them mailed. Most assistance by mail programs are exclusively for the disabled, elderly or homebound.

How do I apply for free school supplies in 2023?

Application instructions vary depending on which program you are trying to apply for. Some charities have specific application instructions. In most cases, you’ll have to attend an in-person event. Some events, like the Wireless Zone’s backpack giveaway, are done on a first-come, first-served basis with no application at all.

When are they giving free school supplies?

It depends on the organization. For programs that require you to register in advance, it is common for applications to open early between May and July. However, most first-come, first-served free school supply giveaways happen later in the season, between July and August.

Who is giving away free school supplies?

There are many organizations and businesses that give away free school supplies. The largest distributors tend to be nationwide nonprofits, like The Salvation Army. Sometimes companies, like Verizon, distribute free school supplies as well.

Why do low income families need free school supplies?

School supplies are crazy 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!

It’s no wonder why so many low-income families struggle to get their children enough school supplies. As lists get longer and more expensive, it’s a real challenge for families to fill those backpacks. Fortunately, there are many agencies and charities that help low-income families get free school supplies and start the year off right!


There are many ways to get free school supplies, including backpacks, in 2023! Many organizations gather school supply and school clothes donations to distribute to low income Americans. You just need to know where to look! In this article, we discussed many of the 2023 free school supplies giveaways that are available to low income Americans.

Nicole is the owner and lead researcher for Low Income Relief. She has over 20 years of professional research and writing experience, and she has been solely dedicated to investigating low income topics for the last 10 years. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more. Her work has also been featured by Google for Publishers and other leading industry publications.

blanca robledo

Monday 18th of September 2023

i live in chula vista ca iam in need of school supplies for my three kids thank you

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 19th of September 2023

Hi Blanca. It may be worth calling 211 to see if they know of any resources in your area.


Monday 14th of August 2023

looking for school supplies in lima ohio

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Hi. If the information above isn't helpful, it may be worth calling 211 to see if there is anything else they know of.

Sembu Kargbo

Tuesday 8th of August 2023

Hello! Please help me with free school supply materials I'm in Conakry Guinea west Africa

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 8th of August 2023

Unfortunately, we only cover information about the United States.

Robert Thomas

Sunday 30th of July 2023

Hello, I am a school bus driver for Raleigh, NC. Some of the students I transport to and from school are low-income, refugee students. I am looking for charities that will donate school supplies to those students.

Catherine Marucci

Tuesday 1st of August 2023

Hi Robert. If the resources above have not been helpful, it may be worth contacting 211 to see if they know of anything in your area.

Meagan H

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

I live in Pensacola Florida I'm trying to get my child and 7 other children clothes and supplies

Catherine Marucci

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Hi Meagan. If the resources above are not helpful, it may be worth calling 211 to see if they know of any resources in your area.