The school year is approaching, and parents and children are in a frenzy to get all the supplies, books, clothes and bookbags they need for the coming year. All these necessities can add up very quickly, and for disadvantaged families, the cost of getting children ready for the school year can be an insurmountable obstacle.
According to the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Denver, parents can expect to spend $457 per child on back-to-school necessities.
Fortunately, help is available, and the Community Budget Center (CBC) is soliciting donations of either school supplies or money to help them assist these needy students.
This drive for school supplies has been done off and on in the past, but this year is the first year that CBC is making a concerted effort. The push to collect and donate school supplies will now become one of the CBC's annual drives.
"Over the years, we have purchased school supplies from time to time, but recently the board voted make this an annual drive. It's been sort of hit or miss in the past, now it's made our annual list of things to do and we're going all out," said Charlotte Craft, treasurer of the Community Budget Center Board. "Each year, children get the list of the supplies they need, but some families can't afford anything more after they've paid the book fees. They can't afford the new clothes, not even clothes from the CBC. It's expensive to get kids ready for the school year."
A bin has been set up at the Community Budget Center for school supplies people wish to donate. Those who want to make a financial donation can write a check to the CBC with "for school supplies" written on the memo line.
A child would generally qualify for school supply assistance if they also qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program.
Last year, 22.8 percent of the Moffat County School District's student population qualified for this program.
Families can apply for this assistance by filling out a form at the Community Budget Center at 555 Yampa Ave.
This form will then be turned over to the Center's board for consideration.
The supplies collected or purchased by the Community Budget Center will be given to the district to distribute.
"Each building, class and teacher hands out a different list, but the most important item for the younger students is the special writing tablets. For the older kids, it's notebook paper. Then there's pencils, pens, scissors, Kleenex, construction paper, rulers, erasers the list is rather long," Craft said. "Every child is important; every child deserves a chance at getting the best education possible. We're just trying to give them the tools to do that."
It is a necessity that children have the proper supplies for the school year, said Pete Bergmann, director of curriculum and staff development for the school district.
"It's extremely important that children get their school supplies, so they can be to be ready to learn," Bergmann said. "We support and applaud the CBC for this effort."