DENVER — With a new school year just weeks away, many Colorado families are struggling to afford school supplies for their children.
Like a lot of families, the Garcias experienced a great deal of loss during the pandemic.
“Times are tough. you know, dollars are tight,” said Levi Garcia. “Employment loss. We got cut off on our benefits. Things just spiraled out of control. Lost our home, lost everything.”
For the past six months, they’ve been staying in a shelter.
With school nearing, the family knew their daughter Angel would need school supplies.
They were able to get those supplies through Denver7’s Pack A Backpack School Supply Drive, a partnership between Denver7, The Salvation Army, and Les Schwab Tire Centers.
“I draw a lot, so they gave me a lot of notebooks, a lot of pencils,” said Angel Garcia.
The National Retail Federation says families spend on average $864 on school supplies and clothing each year.
Lieutenant Carl Esquivel with The Salvation Army says that’s just something many families can’t afford, especially this year.
“Believe it or not, the effects of COVID are still being felt, with our families having to choose between rent, food, school supplies or even clothing for the kids to go to school,” said Esquivel.
He says the demand has grown this year.
“Our goal was 3,700 children; however, we have a huge waiting list,” said Esquivel. “And so, the need is being felt by our Denver metro area families, and we hope that our partners and viewers can see the need and respond to it.”
For Shannan Scheeler, affording school supplies for her son Gage is a yearly struggle.
“It's been so hard being a single parent and really trying to do all my bills and my rent. And I just, I don't have much left for school supplies at the end of the day,” said Scheeler.
It’s a financial struggle Gage, who will be entering the sixth grade, is well aware of.
“Last year, I didn't have as much stuff, and everybody made fun of me because I didn't have the supplies that they did,” said Gage.
But thanks to the generosity of Denver7 viewers and other donors, Gage and Angel will have the school supplies they need when school starts this year.
You can help other families obtain the school supplies their children need.
You can donate school supplies at any Les Schwab Tire Centers location.
You can also make a financial contribution at www.PackABackpack.org.
The Denver7 Pack A Backpack School Supply Drive runs until July 31.
The following school supplies are needed:
- Washable markers
- Colored pencils
- #2 pencils
- Pencil bags
- Big erasers
- 1” 3-ring binders
- Spiral notebooks
- Composition notebooks
- Loose leaf paper
- Index cards
- Hand sanitizer
- Black and blue pens