Back to School Can Be Hard on Family Budgets - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Back to School Can Be Hard on Family Budgets

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Volunteers sort school supplies for student in need in the QCA. Volunteers sort school supplies for student in need in the QCA.

Local school officials estimate nearly 20,000 students in the Quad Cities might need assistance when it comes to buying this year's school supplies.

The National Retail Federation predicts the average family will spend about $635 on back to school shopping this year.

For families who can't afford to spend that much, there is help.

It's called the First Day School Supply Drive, and it's a program area schools, volunteers and the US Postal Service coordinate to provide families with free school supplies if they need them.

Families in the Illinois Quad Cities were invited to leave donations for the drive outside their doors last month. Iowa Quad Cities families were asked to do that Saturday.

Postal carriers picked those donations up and delivered them to Wood Intermediate School in Davenport for a team of about 50 volunteers to sort through.

The program has been in place for about 17 years now and is estimated to have helped more than 200,000 area students.

Wood Intermediate School Principal Sheri Simpson-Schultz says the program does more than ease a family's financial burden:

"The other thing this program does, is for those kids who can't afford it, it gives them some of their self-respect," she said. "They don't have to go into class with nothing and say 'Hey, anyone got a pencil I can borrow? Anyone got some paper I can use?' They come to school. They come ready and it's just a fabulous program."

Families in both the Illinois and Iowa Quad Cities are eligible for the program.

If your family needs the help, all you have to do is contact your school secretary to have your name added to a list of families needing supplies.

School officials say there is definitely a need for the program here in the QCA. In Davenport alone, 62 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch.

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