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How to Get FREE School Supplies in Charlotte NC in 2024

How to Get FREE School Supplies in Charlotte NC in 2024

Back-to-school season can be expensive, but finding free school supplies in Charlotte, NC doesn’t have to be a challenge. Many local organizations and community events are dedicated to helping families in need get the supplies their students need to succeed.


In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the best places to find free backpacks, notebooks, pens, and more in the Charlotte area.

Programs that Offer Free School Supplies

Whether you’re a parent looking to ease the financial burden of back-to-school shopping or a teacher seeking essential classroom resources, Charlotte boasts a variety of programs offering free school supplies.

These initiatives cater to different needs and circumstances, ensuring that every student and educator has access to the tools necessary for a successful school year. Let’s delve into the specific programs available in Charlotte that can help you stock up on school supplies without breaking the bank.


Surprisingly, some Medicaid plans can provide free school supplies in North Carolina! These benefits are usually listed under “additional benefits” or “non-Medical services” in your Medicaid paperwork.


For example, the Wellcare plan can provide free school supplies for Medicaid recipients who are between the ages of 5 and 18 years old. Your student may also be able to receive six free tutoring sessions, a $120 GED voucher or a $300 reading scholarship!

YMCA Bright Beginnings

The YMCA Bright Beginnings program provides low income families with free school supplies and clothing. The program matches students who need help with volunteers who will take the child shopping.

In order to receive help from this program, your child must be nominated by their local school. The YMCA works with local schools and districts to identify the students who need help. If your student is selected, your family will be notified.

The shopping event takes place in August of every year. The exact date will depend on which YMCA location covers your area. Visit the YMCA website for this year’s schedule.

Community Events with Free School Supply Giveaways

In addition to ongoing programs offered by local organizations, Charlotte also hosts several community events throughout the summer where families can find free school supplies. These events are not only a great way to stock up on essentials but also provide a fun and festive atmosphere to celebrate the start of a new school year.

Back 2 School Festival

Watauga County students can pick up free school supplies from the annual Back 2 School Festival. The 2024 event will take place at Watauga High School on Saturday, August 10.

To find out the exact time and schedule, you’ll need to follow Back 2 School Festival on Facebook.


Camino Health Center’s Back to School Event

Every July, the Camino Health Center hosts an annual Go Back to School event. They offer free school supplies, backpacks, and physical exams to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools students. On average, over 1,000 backpacks!

Students and their  families will receive dental screenings, oral health information, drug and alcohol prevention and healthy lifestyles. The event claims to be the “largest health event for children in the Charlotte area.

To find out when the next Back to School event will take place, I recommend following the Camino Health Center on Facebook or contacting their organization directly.

StarMed Healthcare Grab & Go

In July each year, StarMed Healthcare hosts a Grab and Go school supplies event. This event provides backpacks filled with essential supplies.

They typically announce the event on their Facebook page about 10 days before it takes place. Be sure to follow them for details!

Free School Supplies for Teachers

Teachers play a crucial role in shaping young minds, and equipping them with the necessary tools is essential for their success. While teachers often spend their own money on classroom supplies, several resources in Charlotte, NC, offer free school supplies specifically for educators.


Please note that the resources in this section are only available for teachers. You’ll need to tell the teachers are your child’s school about these programs.

Classroom Central

Classroom Central is an incredible program that supports local teachers. There are several ways that teachers can access the resources from Classroom Central:

  • Free Store: Teachers can visit the Free Store year round! It’s located at 2116 Wilkinson Blvd and it’s open by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The store has more than just pencils and paper. It also has STEM materials, a literacy section, craft supplies and more! Teachers can receive an average of $1,200 in supplies with each visit.
  • Mobile Free Store: Teachers that aren’t able to make it to the Free Store can still get supplies from the Mobile Free Store. This bus travels to all six districts to help more teachers get free supplies.
  • Curbside Pickup: This program allows teachers from eligible schools to pick them up at the store with no contact.

For more information about these incredible programs, visit the Classroom Central website.

Governor’s School Supply Drive

Every year, the Governor’s office works with local credit unions to gather school supplies. These donations are then provided to classrooms across North Carolina.

It does not appear that there is any way to apply for this program. However, it is something that can help.

Relief Recap

As we’ve explored, Charlotte, NC offers a wealth of resources for obtaining free school supplies, ensuring that financial constraints don’t hinder a student’s educational journey. By leveraging the programs, events, and initiatives outlined in this guide, families and teachers alike can access essential tools and materials without straining their budgets. Remember, it’s crucial to plan and act early!