For 16 years, Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank has been distributing backpacks full of school supplies to students in need.
Over the years, the organization has equipped over 10,000 students with supplies to help them succeed in school, and to ease the financial burden of back-to-school shopping on the family.
“The majority of them are low income or fixed income and they’re finding it hard to balance life, so to say, you’ve got your expenses and your income that’s not keeping up with your expenses,” said Cynthia Louis, director of donor relations for the non-profit.
And back-to-school shopping isn’t cheap. A recent survey by RetailMeNot found that parents in North America will be spending an average of $507 on back-to-school shopping this year.
“You can’t spend what you don’t have,” said Louis. “We help with the backpacks and the basic supplies they need.”
This year, more than 1,000 students have been registered to receive help from the organization, but donations are not matching those numbers. With just over a week to go before students are back in the classroom, Parker Street has only collected enough supplies for 500 backpacks.
“So we’re asking people to please help us help those in the community,” said Louis.
WATCH: Parker Street Food & Furniture Bank looking for school supply donations
Some of those who registered near the end have been put on a wait-list. Some years have been more difficult than others but the organization has never had to turn anyone away before.
“We don’t want to tell them no; we want to give them that hope,” said Louis.
School supplies can be donated at the Parker Street food bank on Maynard Street or at either of the Great Things in Store thrift stores. The organization is also accepting monetary donations online.
Despite everything, Louise remains hopeful they’ll be able to help everyone in need.
“Community members have been very helpful in helping us help those that are in need and definitely we trust that this will continue.”