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Jewish Family & Children’s Service hosts drive for school supplies

Jewish Family & Children’s Service hosts drive for school supplies

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS), an organization that provides behavioral health, healthcare and social services to all ages, faiths and backgrounds, is hosting its annual Backpack & School Supply Drive to support parents and teachers in the Greater Phoenix area who are struggling with the cost of school supplies.

Teachers end up purchasing supplies to fill the need in their classroom – often out of their own pocket. According to a nationwide survey of 5,400 pre-K-12 teachers at public, private and charter schools conducted by AdoptAClassroom.org, a national nonprofit that provides funding for U.S. teachers and schools, teachers spent an average of $750 of their own money to purchase school supplies for their homes, classrooms and students during the 2020-2021 school year. Thirty percent of teachers spent $1,000 or more annually and 95% of teachers said their classroom supply budget would not be enough to meet their students’ needs. Teacher spending has increased 25% since the organization began surveying teachers in 2015.

“The percentage of students unable to afford school supplies varies from year to year, but the need remains,” said Lisa Blumstein, volunteer coordinator for JFCS. “For low-income families who are already facing financial hardships, this can be an impossible task without the assistance of others.”

Each year JFCS coordinates back-to-school drives for families in need. In anticipation of needing more than 1,800 backpacks for children in the Greater Phoenix area, JFCS is inviting the community to participate and support the annual Backpack & School Supply Drive until May 31, 2022.

While there is a continuous need for backpacks and school supplies by JFCS clients, the donations are needed by May 31 for backpacks to be distributed to students prior to the start of the 2022-2023 school year. Children and teens receiving services from JFCS, including those in foster care, domestic violence and youth programs, as well as those who visit the integrated healthcare clinics, receive backpacks.

“With the community’s support, we can make sure every student begins the school year on a positive note,” said Blumstein. “By making a monetary donation on the JFCS website, shopping via our Amazon wish list or hosting a supply drive for things like pocket folders, glue, pencils and pens, the community’s effort can make a huge difference in the life of a student.”

Groups or organizations can collect needed supplies by hosting a drive and they can contact Blumstein to arrange a drop-off day and time. “We are so fortunate to have support from our community, Valley synagogues, Mercy Care and other groups supporting this annual effort. We couldn’t do it without them.” Blumstein added. JN

For more information, visit jfcsaz.org/volunteer or contact Blumstein at lisa.blumstein@jfcsaz.org.