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Inflation impacting back-to-school shopping in San Diego County

School supplies
Posted at 8:28 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 13:44:49-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- It's no secret that the costs of many goods and services have skyrocketed and back-to-school supplies, sporting equipment, shoes, and uniforms are no exception.

Whether kids are heading into schools or getting homeschooled families are paying big bucks to get items they need.

"It's been very difficult because some of the prices have gone up 50 percent higher than it usually is," said mother Flynn Foster who is homeschooling her daughter. "Obviously it's impacting our way of life because everything else is inflated, all school supplies."

"These are my grandchildren," said Donna Kraus as she left Target after purchasing some things for her three grandchildren who will be homeschooled for the first time this year. "There are a few budget items you can purchase like notebooks and pencils, but everything is up pretty much across the board."

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), families with kids in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school items, which is up about $15 from last year, and up a whopping $168 from 2019, before the pandemic. Clothing, accessories, and school supplies are the top areas where consumers surveyed have noticed higher prices, according to NRF.

"Having to pay 800 dollars for school supplies is unfortunately not surprising to me because of everything going up, even her backpack costs a lot of money," said Foster.

Across San Diego County, resource fairs and backpack giveaways this summer have helped ease some of the burden for some families.

The largest school district, San Diego Unified, says it provides school supplies to all students and the district's Children and Youth in Transition department also gives backpacks and other items to disadvantaged youth.

Poway Unified's "Youth in Transition" program provides grocery and gas cards, as well as school supplies and toiletries to help its students and families in need.

A spokesperson said this year they've served more families than ever through the program.

"Pre-covid we were serving 350,000 people per month, that skyrocketed into 600,000 and now we're serving roughly 500,000," said Casey Castillo, the CEO of San Diego Food Bank.

For families who may be struggling to put food on the table right now, the San Diego Food Bank has a warehouse full of food, for anyone who needs a little help.

"We have a GPS locator, so you can type in your zip code if you need food assistance, and it'll bring up a host of nonprofit partners that you can receive food from," said Castillo. To find a location near you, click here.

Castillo said SD Food Bank also has programs that offer important items like diapers and period supplies. He wants to make sure people are aware of the services offered, especially right now when so many are doing their best to get by.

"We're here, we want them to know we're here," he said.