NewsBack to School 2023


'We're all here to step in and help': Lee's Summit back-to-school program helps families save money

Lee's Summit Social Services hosts back-to-school event
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-02 14:40:47-04

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — As the return to school nears, families are looking for ways to save money on school supplies.

Lee’s Summit Social Services is offering a back-to-school program for families in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. The areas they serve within this school district are Lee’s Summit, Greenwood, Lake Lotawana and Lone Jack.

Through this program, every student who signs up gets one top, one bottom, two pairs of socks, two pairs of underwear and one pair of shoes. They’ll also receive a backpack stuffed with the specific school supplies they’ll need for the year according to their classroom’s list.

All these goods are available to families at no cost.

Assistant director Megan Salerno says it’s important to give all students the same opportunity as they start the school year.

“We want to make sure the kids are being set up for success,” she said. “When they are starting off on the same foot as their peers, they are getting items that are on trend, brand new items like their friends would get.”

Salerno said a grant ensures they have brand-new clothing and shoes. The school supplies are donations-based.

Through their program, Salerno said a family can walk away with $225-worth of supplies per kid. She said she’s watched school supply lists become more and more expensive through the years.

“Just one of the binders that is being required for fifth through high school, the three-ring zippered binder, is a $30 binder. Last year, that wasn’t on the list,” she said.

On average, the program helps 600 kids per year, but that number is made possible through the program’s donations and volunteers.

Tonee Schwartz, special service coordinator, said seeing all the support involved is one of the best parts.

“We have kids that are in college here all the way up to retired teachers that volunteer," she said. "It really just shows the community that we’re all here to step in and help. And it just puts in that impact that no one is alone."

She said she, too, knows how impactful this program is for families.

“I know myself, a mom, I just spent $400 alone this weekend on clothing, and kids grow fast. So that just helps be able to lessen the impact on them,” Schwartz said.

This program runs through Aug. 11. You can visit the Lee’s Summit Social Services building during their normal business hours.

Visit their website to donate, volunteer or sign-up for the program.

Salerno said they are still in need of one-inch binders, permanent markers, dry-erase markers and three-ring zippered binders.