McDonalds gives families a hand with back-to-school gear

PHOENIX - Many parents are cracking open their wallets to pay for back-to-school supplies this time of year.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with school age children will spend about $635 on shoes, clothes, supplies and electronics this year.

That's up about 7 percent from last year.

Buying all that paper, pencils and tablets is one thing but paying for a sturdy backpack can cost as much as all of the supplies that go into it.

Today a golden giveaway was making a difference for struggling families here in Arizona, helping kids look good and feel good as they head back to school.

Two hundred and eighty McDonald's restaurants across the state hosted "Backpack Saturday."

"Money's tight for a lot of people and this is a chance to help local families," said Jerry Gehrke of McDonald's.

One of the most well known clowns in the world, Ronald McDonald, wasn't just clowning around on Saturday. He was entertaining the kids and helping work some magic for their parents, too.

The first 100 kids got a free bag for school. It's a major money-saver for struggling families who are already having a hard enough time getting the supplies to fill them.

While gearing up the kids, 70 locations also helped them get healthy with a screening and dental care check.

It was all delivered with a little fun, so kids don't have to worry about the balancing act their parents are trying to pull off with back-to-school costs.

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