Back-to-school shopping is underway and it is more expensive than ever before. Inflation is driving up the cost of supplies by 18%. According to the National Retail Federation, Parents are expected to spend $168 more on school supplies this year than in previous years.
Many families can’t afford the price of supplies. In fact, the survey states one-third of shoppers are having to cut back in other spending areas to get their child what they need.
Many families are having to come up with ways to pay:
Read the full back-to-school spending report.
Valley of the Sun United Way offers several programs to help families get prepared for school.
Valley of the Sun United Way always accepts gifts-in-kind donations. We collect items throughout the entire year and distribute them to local nonprofits, schools and other organizations.
Some of the most-needed back-to-school items:
Learn more about supply drives.
Did you know public school teachers often buy their own supplies? The average teacher spends about $500 of their own money on items including, pencils, markers, tissues, hand sanitizer and decorations for their classroom. You can help lift some of that stress by donating items to Valley of the Sun United Way.
Things look a lot different this year and that includes finances for a lot of families. If you’re looking for a free way to give back to our local teachers, consider writing a virtual note. Notes will be sent directly to teachers working in Maricopa County. Let’s show them how much we care!
Write a virtual note to a local teacher.
Valley of the Sun United Way’s Pantry Pack program supports local families struggling with food insecurity. Packs are filled with snacks and easy meals and are discreetly given to children at local schools. The food helps feed children over the weekend and allows families to stretch their weekly food bill.
Valley of the Sun United Way hands out 1,500 Pantry Packs each month.
Learn how you can get involved with the program.
VELLO® is Valley of the Sun United Way’s online tutoring program. It pairs volunteers with local students to provide 1-on-1 reading sessions. It is all digital, so volunteers don’t even have to leave their home or office. The children and adult share a screen, but can’t see each other.
Learn more about becoming a VELLO volunteer.
Scholastic and Valley of the Sun United Way have partnered together to facilitate powerful school-to-home connections. Each kit is filled with bilingual activity books, crayons, reading materials and so much more! They are handed out to schools across Maricopa County and given to families with children heading into kindergarten.
Learn more about our School readiness Kits.
Valley of the Sun United Way envisions a community where every child, family and individual is healthy, has a safe place to live, and has every opportunity to succeed in school, in life and in work. We have partnered with more than 50 programs and services provided by school, nonprofit and community partners to help us close opportunity gaps in our community. Together, we will ensure children read at grade level by 3rd grade and youth are prepared for educational success and employment