TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — 8 On Your Side is making sure kids have everything they need as they head into the school year.
According to back to school analysts, nearly one in three families can’t afford school supplies, and according to a local non-profit, this not only affects students but teachers too.
“We all know teachers are superheroes,” said Hillsborough Education Foundation’s Chief Advancement Officer Michael McCollum.
Throughout the school year, teachers from Title 1 schools are able to go to the Hillsborough Education Foundation’s building and shop for school supplies at no charge.
“Most of the schools we work with, 99% to 100% of the students are on free or reduced lunch. So if a lot of our students are struggling to pay for lunch every day, a lot of those families aren’t able to provide school supplies they need,” McCollum said.
McCollum said students not having key school supplies is a serious problem that affects many areas of their life.
“Their self-esteem isn’t as high as other students, they’re not ready to learn, it affects them in the classroom. So the more we can level the playing field it’s better for the teachers and better for the students as well,” Mccollum said.
According to a new survey from Lendingtree, 29%, nearly a third of all parents said they’re unable to afford their child’s school supplies.
They said the average back-to-school bill is $500 dollars, something many parents will go into debt trying to pay this year.
“We’re hoping to give them a head start in getting them the tools they’ll need to succeed in ensuring a quality education this upcoming school year,” says Mark Higgins, Vice President & General Manager of WFLA News Channel 8 and Great 38.
To help families, you can drop off school supplies at WFLA’s parking lot on Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The WFLA parking lot is located at 200 South Parker Street in Tampa.
“The markers, colored pencils, crayons, pencils, paper – those core items are the top things we need. But of course, we need it all, scissors, glue sticks, erasers, backpacks. We take it all and make sure it gets in the hands of students who need it all year round,” McCollum said.
In Tampa Bay, we’re about a week into the school year. Students went back to class on Aug. 10 and 11.
The non-profit said they need supplies all year long, not just at the start of the school year.