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Nonprofit set to deliver back-to-school supplies despite rising inflation rates

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 01:40:16-04

While it may be too early for students on summer vacation to be talking about back school, rising inflation rates could make buying school supplies a challenge.

Karl Gentles is the executive director of Back-to-School Clothing Drive, a nonprofit that raises money year-round to give qualifying Valley families back to school supplies and uniforms. Each year, they buy $2 million worth.

"It cost $850 to $900 per child to go back to school,” said Gentles citing the National Retail Federation.

He says due to inflation, high demand and supply chain issues, inventory is costing him about 25% more this school year.

“And that's on materials we sell on a wholesale basis, so a retail basis that's a greater impact,” he said.

For example, the backpacks he buys are estimated to be $30 per unit. After inflation, that's closer to $35.

With the start of school just weeks away, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics measures inflation grew to 9.1% in June nationwide.

That rate is even hotter for the Valley at over 12%, more than other big cities like Seattle, Miami and Houston.

Although families may still have summer plans, Gentles indicates families may want to plan now on back-to-school shopping.

“Our vendors tell us our uniforms are on back order until last year, March or April of next year, it's going to be difficult to find the items they need,” he said.

Back-to-School Clothing Drive will put these supplies in the hands of registered and qualifying families and despite lack of supply and higher cost overwhelming demand.

“Nothing stops back to school, from delivering what these students need, we're going to do it again this year, do it again next year, as long as long as students have a need,” he said.