BAY CITY, Mich. (WJRT) – Back to school should be a time of hope. But for many local families, it’s a time of financial stress.
In fact, just today, Governor Whitmer proposed a sales tax break on school supplies, pointing to a study that indicates average back-to-school spending per child will increase from $618 last year to $661 this year.
The United Way of Bay County is trying to ease some of the stress that back-to-school shopping can put on families.
“It alleviated a lot of my costs. It helped a lot, especially with the shoe portion,” said Holly Elliott.
Elliott is a Bay City parent of three school-aged children and says the program helps him bridge the gap by giving his kids a dress, shoes and backpacks with some supplies, as well as underwear and socks.
“I can focus more on academics, school supplies to help with the classroom,” she said.
Almost everything related to school has increased in price this year. The cost of Elmer’s Glue has risen 30 percent this year, while BIC pens have risen 12 percent. Underwear has increased by 6.4 percent and some sneakers almost double.
“All of our families that have applied for this program are coming to pick up their backpacks, clothes and school supplies today, so we have a constant cycle of traffic,” said Kayla Eisenlord, United Way’s marketing and communications manager. of Bay. county
In Bay County, 21 percent of families are within the asset-limited, income-restricted, employed or ALICE threshold and an additional 15 percent are in poverty; a total of 35 percent of the community is struggling to meet their daily needs. .
“Kids should have fun learning and not worry about it,” said volunteer and student Ellie Socier.
And one less thing for parents and kids to worry about can mean more success in school.
More than 1,100 children will receive help from the program this year. Leaders tell ABC12 the United Way of Bay County will host a Trunk or Treat event in October and offer warm boots to qualified applicants. You can get more information on their website: unitedwaybaycounty.org