You are not alone if you are wondering how to afford that long list of expensive school supplies sent home from your child's teacher. School supplies are a major expense that many families struggle to buy. Parents should not have to choose between purchasing school supplies or new clothes to fit children who sprouted up over the summer. Research how to get free school supplies in your community to stretch your family budget.

How to Get Free School Supplies

Explore various options to help you save money during the school year. Consider calling the socials service department in your county for information on how to apply for free school supplies. Watch for posters in grocery stores and laundromats promoting back to school events with giveaways. If you're in the thrift store looking for clothes, backpacks, trapper keepers and lunch boxes, ask the clerks if they know where you might find free school supplies. You might also want to suggest to extended family members that a trendy new backpack stuffed with snacks and school supplies would be a great birthday gift for your child.

Look to Foundations and Charities

A variety of national foundations and charities provide school supplies to students in need. For example, the Kids In Need Foundation is an initiative by Target that provides money for school supplies to teachers who have students in need. Teachers can apply for a grant through the Kids In Need Foundation website. If you are a parent, look into something like Back to School Roundup, an annual event in many places. For instance, Tarrant County advertised how to apply for free school supplies in 2018 and annually distributes school bags and supplies to 1,000 students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.

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Check with Food Banks

Check with your local food bank to see if it distributes free school supplies during the school year. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is an example of an organization that provides school supplies to low-income schools. It offers pencils, papers, binders and even cleaning items. Food shelves often have brochures and posters with information about free school supplies at the start of the school year.

Contact Community Organizations

Community organizations, such as the Salvation Army, community centers, YMCA, clubs and church groups, are good places to call or visit when seeking free school supplies. Consult your local newspaper or community website to see if any school supply drives are scheduled. For example, Dallas County runs a Back to School drive every year, where members of the community donate supplies such as binders, pencils, geometry sets and backpacks, which are later donated to students in need in the area.

About the Author

Based in Gatineau, Canada, Kat Walcott has been writing entertainment and informative articles since 2008. Her work has appeared in major publications including Her Campus, Equals6 and Uppercase. She holds an honors diploma in social science from Heritage College and is currently majoring in communication studies and minoring in sexuality studies.