GOODING, Idaho — For many Magic Valley parents purchasing school supplies can be a large burden, and for some, they have to prepare in July in order to get ahead for the start of school in August.
Heather Ray from Gooding has four children who are headed into school this year, and she said the notebooks, pencils, and backpacks for each child add up quickly.
“It's just not those low-income families, it’s everyone's struggle,” said Ray.
The National Retail Federation reports parents with children in elementary school through high school, plan to spend an average of $789.49 dollars per family on back to school shopping in 2020.
“There is more being asked of our students to bring to school,” Ray said.
Ray and her family see back to school expenses as such a major issue in their community they have been hosting a school supply give-away out of their yard for four years.
“It is an expense that is often overlooked,” said Ray. “Because it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is a big deal.”
The first year, they did a school supply giveaway they paid for everything out of their own pocket, but it became so well attended that they had to turn many families away. The next year they decided to start doing a yard sale fundraiser to help raise money to buy school supplies for kids in their community.
The Ray family is not the only one who has noticed the need. Magic Valley non-profit Idaho Angles Inc. is also currently busy gathering supplies to help where they can. They say this year they are seeing even more families in need.
“It may just seem like a simple notebook or a simple package of crayons, but sometimes that little bit can just be life-changing for those kids,” said Ray.