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Education

SF Banquet Prepares Kids For School, Despite Increased Prices

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Parents are expected to pay more this year in school supplies and activities fees. The Backpack Index released by Huntington Bank averages families will spend more than $1,000 dollars preparing two students for school. 

The Banquet in Sioux Falls serves free meals each day. But throughout the year volunteers collect and sort school supplies in the store room behind the kitchen.  Next week more than 6,000 kids will pick out a backpack complete with everything on their school supply list.

Madeline Shields is special events director at the banquet.  All year the organization collects school supplies for the drive which is known as project S.O.S. She says the banquet expects to assist around the same number of school kids, but the fluctuation in school starting dates makes this year different.  

“The later school starts people don’t think about back to school. So some of our donated school supplies do come in a little bit later then, but it’s all good because what we do is give school supplies all year, so we made sure we have enough school supplies for our distribution which will be for August 22nd,” says Shields.

Shields says distribution day is exciting for kids, and a relief to parents. The Backpack Index indicates that without assistance, parents with an elementary student spend $650 dollars on back to school supplies and fees.

“That is a tremendous burden on many families, whether they are low income or middle income. When you’re paying higher prices for school supplies, there are other things you will not be able to afford because not everybody’s getting a raise just because school starts. Those prices are a huge burden on families this time of year. They need to buy their kids clothes, they have band fees and sports fees, and school lunches they have to purchase, and so it’s really a difficult time when kids are getting ready to go to school” says Shields.

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Donated school supplies is sorted in preparation for distribution day.

 Students in the Sioux Falls school district start after Labor Day while across the state many kids head back to school at the end of August.