Salvation Army event helps families affected by rising cost of school supplies

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Inflation is weighing heavily on family budgets as parents prepare children to return to school.

The start of the school year is usually the second biggest expense for parents after the holidays. A typical family currently spends a record $864 on school supplies, far more for college-aged students, according to recent studies.

In this context, the Salvation Army stepped in to help families in need during this difficult back-to-school season. On Friday, about 150 families and children were able to shop for back-to-school clothes at the Old Navy in Southcenter Mall.

“I really like skirts and this is one of my favorite colors,” said 5th grader Savianna Zupan while showing off a pink corduroy skirt. She was one of the young students to shop with the Tukwila Fire Department and Salvation Army Volunteers at Old Navy.

“It was fun. There were a lot of cool things I got, and I’m happy with all my stuff,” she said. “I’m grateful for that.”

Ellie Ramseur, a 3rd grade student, was also on the shopping trip. “I really like these shoes, and I’m going to wear them on the first day of school,” she announced, holding up a pair of black and white patterned shoes. “I got tons of shirts and leggings, and it was really fun,” she said.

The Salvation Army says each child received $150 for shopping. Without this opportunity, back to school would be very different for these children and their parents.

“I might buy a few things, but not all of that,” Ramseur said.

Mary Earl says for her daughter, Jasmine, the event couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s expensive. I don’t think I could have bought anything from him this year, even if I wanted to, personally anyway. But without that it would have been difficult,” she said. declared.

Earl says she has had to cut spending on things like clothes because food prices have gone up so much.

According to DataWeave analytics, the price of a basket of a dozen typical school supplies is up 15% from a year ago, with backpacks alone rising about 12% for a cost $70 average.

The National Retail Federation says that, overall, consumers aren’t backing down on that back-to-school spending because it’s a necessity. Instead, they work overtime or try to cut corners in other ways.

“The realities of the people we serve are very often at work, but struggling to make ends meet,” said Maj. Jonathan Harvey, King County coordinator for the Salvation Army.

“I’m hoping to go to another back-to-school event soon for supplies. I don’t know,” Earl said.

With all the challenges families face, volunteers said it was good to give back on Friday.

“The kids were so excited for this event,” said Tukwila Fire Battalion Commander Joshua Kelch.

“Everyone had the biggest smiles on their faces. I think they really had a lot of fun here today,” said Salvation Army volunteer Graceson Mahoney.

Harvey says the Salvation Army will be holding these shopping events for families through next week.

Also see: Essential Back-to-School Links for Families in Western Washington

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