Parents across Central Florida are getting last-minute supplies ready for the first day of school, but thousands of local families can’t afford supplies or pay for other essentials.
The Heart of Florida United Way helps families in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
Before the pandemic, leaders said 47% of working families were living paycheck-to-paycheck. That number has only grown.
“A $300 unexpected expense could be enough to completely derail them for a month or a few months in their household budget,” said Lynnea Crawford with Heart of Florida United Way. “That was pre-pandemic.”
For the last 14 years, Channel 9 has shown viewers the back-to-school bash put on by the HopeNow Foundation to give families essential supplies.
This year, Channel 9 is inviting viewers to help with a virtual drive called the Backpack-a-thon.
Each year, the HopeNow Foundation has been able to hand out about 10,000 backpacks filled with school supplies each year to families.
They have the same goal this year, but with a week until the school year starts, they’ve only received enough donations for about 4,000 backpacks.
“If we can help provide a backpack in those school supplies, that frees up some budget to support an unexpected expense, take a little relief off of the grocery bill, and helping make that family more secure in their rent and utilities for that month,” Crawford said.
To find out how you can help, click here.
©2021 Cox Media Group