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Back-to-school supplies are breaking the bank for families, YMCA relaunches 'Operation Backpack' to help

36-piece school supply kit is just $9.98
Posted at 5:36 PM, Aug 13, 2023

CLEVELAND — It’s back to school time, and The YMCA is helping families who are having difficulties make ends meet to buy their kid’s school supplies.

A study from World Remit shows the cost of school supplies across the country has increased by over 25% since this time last year. YMCA of Greater Cleveland Vice President of Youth Development Tish Bowling said she sees how inflation is impacting families regularly.

“Families are struggling more than they normally struggle,” Bowling said. “So, there’s definitely a heightened need for children to have that extra support to have tools they need to be successful.”

The YMCA started Operation Backpack four years ago, partnering with area schools and PTA’s to help give struggling families' bank accounts a break when it comes to this expensive time of year. Studies show, on average, it costs over $220 dollars per child to send them back to school with needed clothes and stationery. The YMCA is asking for donations of backpacks, notebooks, pencils, paper, pens, crayons, scissors and glue.

“We want to provide for a bunch of ages from children that are just entering kindergarten all the way up to high school,” Bowling said.

There’s a perk for families who donate supplies as well.

“Anyone that gives donations that would like a membership to our Y can get a free joiners fee for just giving those donations, and that could be a savings of up to $100,” Bowling said.

Operation Backpack circles back to the Y’s overall mission; to give everyone, regardless of their background, the opportunity, and in this case tools, to reach their full potential.

“I just hope the community cares enough about the youth to make that extra effort to donate,” Bowling said. “We really appreciate, the youth appreciate it, and we can save some children feeling they don't have what they need by providing them with a little extra support.”

Donations can be dropped off at any YMCA location.

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