While many of us are thinking about the upcoming school year and wondering about our children’s education and safety, Hephzibah’s Family Based Services program is working on helping our foster and intact families meet the very-real burden of preparing their children to return to school, including coming up with school supplies for 400 children.
Purchasing all the school supplies needed for the school year is a financial burden many families simply cannot afford.
Hephzibah’s board members and their families will be getting together the first week of August to help pack and stuff 400 backpacks to distribute to the families we serve. Due to COVID-19 restrictions we are not able to allow extra volunteers, but we are looking for donations of backpacks and necessary supplies with which to fill them.
This fall will be especially difficult for new foster families, some of whom have never fostered children before. These gracious families intentionally chose to welcome high-needs children into their homes who need extra emotional, physical, medical and educational support. These are the children who need IEPs and extra help to get through a typical school day, let alone face the challenges brought on by e-learning.
Families in our intact program are already trying to overcome the boundaries of poverty, homelessness, job insecurity and a myriad of other factors during a pandemic to safely care for their children. One mother of four told her case worker that she would have to chose between preparing her children for school or paying rent next month – an impossible decision for a hard-working mother to make.
“Helping with school supplies is just one simple thing we can take off their plate,” says Juliet Yera, Hephzibah’s Development Director. “It allows these families time and energy to tackle the more pressing needs of their children.”
With just weeks left until the fall semester is set to begin, many families still don’t know how their students will be learning this fall let alone what children will need to participate in e-learning.
The National Retail Federation’s annual Back-to-School Spending Survey shows that consumers expect to spend a record amount of money to prepare students for school this year, due largely in part to e-learning plans in place across the country as the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continues to rise.
The 2020 data shows that parents with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average of $789.49 per family preparing for back to school, up from the previous record of $696.70 parents said they expected to pay last year.
People are stepping up to help us meet the needs of these families. Hephzibah received a generous donation of school supplies from Enchanted Backpack, a charitable organization serving under-resourced elementary and middle schools in the Chicagoland area. In addition, our wonderful Western Auxiliary is sponsoring 100 backpacks that they will purchase, fill, and deliver to our offices.
We are still in need of backpacks, folders, pencils, pens, spiral notebooks, glue sticks, book covers, erasers, pencil bags and binders.
We, and the families we serve, would be extremely grateful if you’d take a moment out of your busy days and choose an item or several from our Amazon Wishlist to help our families as they navigate the new and difficult terrain of going back to school during a pandemic. Thank you so much for your generous donations and for helping the families we serve as we get through this difficult time!