We’ve officially entered what I call Trapper Keeper season — the annual school supply treasure hunt.
The excitement of kids going back to school can quickly turn to fear when items on the must-have school supply list are on the endangered list, and not because of the more recent supply chain issues. It seemed every year my daughter and I would eagerly head out to buy school supplies, and inevitably not find the required box of crayons, markers with chisel tips or certain colors of folders. We would leave home optimistic in the morning and return defeated in the afternoon.
Misplaced optimism and caffeine got me through the first few years of grade school supply shopping until our PTA began offering school supply boxes containing everything required on the list. It saved time and stress. School supply boxes are certainly a convenience that may or may not save you money, and with the costs of clothes, shoes and other school necessities any extra costs may not fit into a budget.
Thankfully, there are organizations that can help bridge the gap between budgets and the realities of school supply costs for families in need of assistance.
Through the Kansas Education Enrichment Program, parents and guardians can apply for a $1,000 award per eligible child to pay for goods and services that promote educational learning and facilitate academic enrichment opportunities. The money can be used for a variety of items from school supplies to musical instruments. Income verification is required. www.keep.ks.gov or call 785-294-3483.
The Salvation Army provides back-to-school assistance for low-income families, including backpacks, school supplies, shoes and clothes, but what is available is specific to your area. www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/contact.
Catholic Charities may also offer assistance. You can find the closest Catholic Charities at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/find-help or call 703-549-1390, the national number for help in locating services near you.
Other resources may be found at local chapters of the United Way, Red Cross and local churches.
Best wishes for the new school year!