Inflation impacting 'Operation School Bell' program

Posted at 6:01 AM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 11:34:58-04

PHOENIX — Because of inflation, more families have needed help this year buying back-to-school clothes and the non-profits that provide those clothes are also pinching pennies.

Outside of Echo Mountain Primary School, 6-year-old Dominic is picking out new clothes for his first day of first grade. Once he and his GiGi Karen finish collecting a few shirts in the bins, they head onto a school bus to try on pants and shoes.

"I think it's wonderful they are helping," said Karen Mourad. "Especially when things have gotten more expensive, groceries, gas. It's really helpful."

The school bus full of dressing rooms and clothes is a part of the Assistance League of Phoenix's Operation School Bell program. The non-profit provides free, new clothes to thousands of children every year. CEO of ALP Aimee Runyon says this year, more families are relying on them for help.

"The need has just been unprecedented," Runyon said. "We see kids that come in with their shoes duct-taped together. We have kids that are excited because now they get to have their own toothbrush."

She says this year, it's also costing them more to provide those clothes.

A bag full of items for one child typically costs ALP about $80 wholesale, but within the past six months, Runyon says vendors have raised their prices and it's now costing them about $90 each.

"Our shipping costs have almost doubled," she said.

Runyon says donations are what keep the bus running.

"There's room for everyone to help, whether it's your time, your treasure or your talent," Runyon said. "I encourage everyone to get involved."

ALP also has a thrift boutique where families can get clothing for a reduced price. On August 17, they're taking 30% off all items. If you'd like more information, click here.