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KC organizations lend hand amid back-to-school shopping costs

Families gearing up for back to school expected to pay more
Posted at 7:55 AM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 08:56:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One Kansas City organization is stepping up to help families get school supplies this year amid rising shopping costs.

The National Retail Federation predicts the average family will spend $864 in back-to-school shopping.

Because of these high costs, at least 38% of consumers surveyed plan to cut back on other spending areas to afford back-to-school shopping, according to a survey from NRF.

Scraps KC is hoping to lend a helping hand. The Kansas City nonprofit collects thousands of pounds of unwanted school supplies for people to shop at a discounted rate.

This Thursday, 400 teachers will take part in their largest back-to-school giveaway, where they can get school supplies for free. Scraps KC reports all available slots for the giveaway are booked up, and the organization is anticipating an increase in families coming through their doors this year.

“We’re not seeing lots of increases on things, basic classroom supplies like pencils, markers, crayons, paper, but all the things that go along with going back to school like packing lunches, groceries, getting new shoes, new clothes, those are all increasing," Courtney Christensen with Scraps KC said." "We can help families save a little money here, we want to do that."

Back to school college spending is expected to be at $74 billion dollars, with electronics seeing the biggest increase.

For those in the area looking for affordable access to electronics, the Kansas City Public Library is rolling out a new program where you can check out laptops for free with built-in WiFi.

900 laptops are available to be checked out right now at select library locations, aimed at helping families with applying for jobs, paying bills and homework.

The library says due to the current economy, library traffic has seen 27% increase from January to June and computer usage was also up by 27% within the same time frame.

“We found out over the over the years the use of public libraries increases when the economy is not doing as well,” Deputy Director for KCPL services Joel Jones said. “People are going to come to the library because it's free, and they're going to cut back. A WiFi bill and internet bill is $40, $50 a month minimum.”

The library says 150 laptops have been checked out and people can borrow them for up to three weeks.

As for saving on back-to school shopping costs, Scraps KC suggests people check on Facebook Marketplace or other re-use or thrift shop store locations.

“There's just so much out there that people don't need and they're not sure where to give it and end up throwing it away,” Christensen said. “We're doing what we can to spread the word that this (Scraps KC) is a place."