Donate and do some good

Published 7:11 pm Thursday, August 8, 2019

Back-to-school time is coming up, and for many parents, that means a big expense. The National Retail Federation estimates the average household will spend approximately $696.70 getting their K-12 kids ready for school this year, and $976.78 for the average college student. All told, the NRF estimates these back-to-school costs will add up to approximately $80.7 billion nationwide.

For many in Beaufort County, the nearly $700 figure might seem wildly off the mark. After all, how much can it cost to put together a supply list? But think about the families that have more than one or two children. Take that per-student expense and multiply by four, five, even six times, and the bill starts to add up quickly.

Consider also that the latest data available shows a significant rate of poverty in Beaufort County. According to 2017 Census estimates, approximately 22% of our county’s population is living in poverty. Even more saddening, those same statistics show approximately 28.6% of Beaufort County’s children as living in poverty. According to 2019 County Health Rankings, 19% of Beaufort County’s residents are considered food insecure, lacking access to healthy, affordable food.

Now, ask those families to shell out a couple hundred bucks for school supplies. It just doesn’t work. It might be easy to sit back and say, “It should be the parent’s responsibility” or to doubt that a need actually exists. The facts are, there is a need in the community, and there are a lot of good people who work to fill that need.

This Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, a big yellow school bus will be parked outside of Walmart for the Beaufort County Schools Stuff the Bus campaign. Community events in Aurora and Belhaven next weekend will also be taking up supplies for children in need at S.W. Snowden, Northeast and Bath elementary schools. Details for all of these events are in the Daily News’ community calendar.

Maybe you feel you don’t have a responsibility to provide for other people’s children and maybe you’re correct. But for those who care, and who have a little extra to give, investing in a child’s future is one of the greatest gifts one can give.