K-12 EDUCATION

How to make back to school shopping affordable

Jul 31, 2023, 2:28 PM | Updated: Aug 16, 2023, 9:44 am

SALT LAKE CITY -- Back to school means back to the store for many families, but the long lists of s...

FILE - Back-to-school supplies are pictured in a shopping cart. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

(Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — This may be the most expensive year for back-to-school shopping in history, according to the National Retail Federation. The average American family is expected to spend $890 this year, or about $25 more than last year.

“It’s just getting more and more expensive and more difficult,” said Bri Butterfield, volunteer project coordinator with United Way. “We’ve seen a huge increase in requests from our schools. Last year we served about 10,000 students and gave away about 4,500 backpacks. This year we have requests for 7,800 backpacks. We’ll be serving about 11,000 students.”

 

The best thing for families to do who are struggling to pay for everything their kids need would be to reach out to their local school.

“A lot of schools have coordinators who will help them find the resources within their communities,” Butterfield said.

What about clothes?

What if you’re having a challenge just getting clothes that fit your growing kids, let alone pencils and notebooks?

“Same thing,” Butterfield explained. “Reach out to the school to see what resources they have available. A lot of our schools have food pantries and clothing pantries that are already in them that are free for families and for the community.”

So, start with the school. 

“[If you don’t find what your children need there,] log on to 211Utah or call 211,” Butterfield said. “That is a great way to find those resources in your community. Someone at 211 will help you find the resources you need.”

Stuff the Bus

United Way is involved with volunteers all over the state who help them with their “Stuff the Bus” campaign to get kids what they need before school starts.

“This is our 13th year of doing Stuff the Bus with United Way of Salt Lake,” Butterfield explained. “Every year from June through the end of July, we have community members and corporate partners who come out and host supply drives for us.”

This campaign gathers between 90,000 to 100,000 individual supplies every year. People donate pencils, pens, notebooks, folders, glue sticks, highlighter pens, crayons, markers and colored pencils.

“Last week we had 100 volunteers come and sort through 30,000 school supplies,” Butterfield said. “Tomorrow (August 1st) we will stuff all of the backpacks and get them loaded up. Then the school districts will come to pick them up on Wednesday and distribute them to the schools for us.”

Tomorrow, they’ll stuff 6,800 backpacks for schools in the Canyons, Granite, Salt Lake, and Davis school districts. The rest of the backpacks have already been stuffed by corporate partners who adopted individual schools.

Amazingly, United Way of Salt Lake does not need any volunteers for tomorrow’s event. “The community is so eager to help. It’s amazing,” Butterfield shared.

But volunteers and donations for Stuff the Bus and United Way’s other campaigns are always welcome. Click here to find out more about volunteer opportunities near you.

Related: 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

K-12 Education

An image of Haven Bay elementary school, still under construction....

Emma Keddington

Two Weber County schools may not open in time for upcoming school year

Two Weber County schools, West Field High School and Haven Bay Elementary are still in a construction phase. School starts August 21.

1 day ago

Outside of Bonneville High School...

Heather Peterson

Bonneville High School opens new teen center to help students in crisis

Bonneville's new teen center has a kitchen, laundry, a shower, and a food pantry as well as a living room area, and study rooms.

1 month ago

An employer and employee shaking hands. Jobs accelerated in May, but is that a good or bad thing?...

Kennedy Camarena

Jobs accelerated in May; why that’s a bad thing

Jobs have accelerated for the month of May. While most think that is a good thing, there might be a reason it isn't.

2 months ago

a group of high school basketball students celebrate, are high school nil contracts going to become...

Amanda Dickson

NIL contracts in high school?

With the movement of money into younger and younger realms, is it just a matter of time before high school athletes sign NIL contracts?

2 months ago

Students and families hold a walkout in support of building a new high school in western Salt Lake ...

Eric Cabrera

SLC residents gather outside East High to highlight need for new high school

Students and families staged a walkout from East High to demonstrate the need for a new high school west of I-15.

2 months ago

Utah Education Association President Renée Pinkney speaks at a press conference near the Matheson ...

Eric Cabrera

Utah teachers union files lawsuit against scholarship/voucher program

The Utah Education Association says the Utah Education Fits All scholarship is unconstitutional.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

How to make back to school shopping affordable