Back to School season 2022 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 2022
There are many nationwide organizations that offer assistance with school supplies in 2022. If you need help, these are the first places I recommend going.
The Salvation Army offers free school supplies and clothes.
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 offers help through 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 distributes free school supplies.
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 offers help with school supplies.
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.
Love in the Name of Christ (Love INC) may offer school supplies.
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 may be able to help with school supplies.
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 offers free school supplies to military families.
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.
Companies Offering Free School Supplies in 2022
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.
Get a free backpack and supplies from 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.
When you attend the backpack giveaway at Wireless Zone, you’ll be entered to win one of five $10,000 college scholarships as well.
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 2022, the Wireless Zone backpack giveaway will take place on Sunday, July 31 from 1pm to 4pm.
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.
Other Ways to Get FREE School Clothes & Uniforms in 2022
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 2022
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 helps teachers with free supplies.
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 provides discounted supplies for teachers, too.
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. The Target teacher discount lasts from July 18th to August 29th, 2022.
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.
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.
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 2022?
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 2022?
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!
Tuesday 30th of August 2022
I just found your website and I am in tears at how much help and resources you provide those of us that have found ourselves blindsided by divorce, financial issues, ect. My life is a tangled mess of divorce and blackmail by a military soldier and I have been desperately trying to get help surviving bc I was SAHM for 11/12 years and I now have a rent payment of $1700 (just rent and water!) in bucks county pa. I am most desperate to find school clothes and supplies for my 2 daughters 12&16, and job/career help for work clothes/guidance and going to college online. I don't know if you or anyone has or knows if any ideas, sites, programs or legal assistance to help me get the child support, military benefits, and independence out from under the strong arming of a soldier?! The lease is in his name bc if I didn't agree to everything he said I would have been or be homeless with 2 kids. I am sorry to lay this all out there but I am having anxiety attacks worrying I'll fail my daughters
Wednesday 31st of August 2022
Hi Jessica. That's a lot to be going through. Here are some resources to start with. https://lowincomerelief.com/resources-for-domestic-violence-victims/ https://lowincomerelief.com/get-cash-now/
c Ann Wilson
Saturday 20th of August 2022
im c Ann Wilson, I was in a severe car accident last year and almost lost a leg. I am living in constant pain and cannot work. I have a boy and girl age 9 and 6. I cannot afford school supplies, shoes or clothes. I can prove what im saying is true asnd am really in dire trouble. My baby dad lost a leg in tnhe accident and cannot help.
Sunday 21st of August 2022
Hi. It may be worth calling 211 to see if there is anything else they can suggest.
Friday 19th of August 2022
My name is Joanna Waters! I am looking for help with my 3 kids for school cloths, and school supplies. I am really having a hard time right now. I have called social services, and a lot of churches.I have not got any help yet.And my kids go to school in 14 days.PLEASE HELP.
Friday 19th of August 2022
Hi Joanna. If you haven't already, try calling 211. They may be able to suggest something.
Monday 15th of August 2022
Hi I live in Shasta County California. Looking for school supplies for my 13 year old daughter. She's going into the 8th grade. Thank you
Tuesday 16th of August 2022
Hi. If none of the resources listed above are useful in your case, it may be worth calling 211 to see if there is anything they can suggest in your area.
Wednesday 10th of August 2022
Good morning I was hoping to see if I am able to get help with free school supplies for 2 Brooklyn Park middle school kids and 1 North County High School student
Wednesday 10th of August 2022
Hi Ashley. If you can't find help from any of the agencies listed above. it may be worth calling 211 to see if there is anything else they can recommend.