Summer is winding down and students in Connecticut are preparing to return to the classroom. Back-to-school shopping is underway and surging inflation is taking a toll on families.
According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school items. Compared to 2019, back-to-school shoppers are expected to spend $168 more on average.
As families contend with rising costs, community organizations across the state are stepping in to help with giveaways and back-to-school events.
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Families went to Exclusive Cut in East Harford for free haircuts Monday. The East Hartford Public School District partnered with the barbershop to host the event. In addition to free haircuts, families received free backpacks.
Global Empowerment and End Hunger CT! are hosting a community day for East Hartford families on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. They will be handing out free backpacks, school supplies, food and drinks. The event is being held at Martin Park.
Hartford Public Schools is hosting a back to school celebration Tuesday, Aug. 16. The event will be held from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Dunkin' Donuts Park. Free backpacks and school supplies will be provided while supplies last.
The Town of Groton Police Department is collecting school supplies through Friday, Aug. 19. People are asked to drop off donations at the police department lobby or at the Groton Library. The items will be handed out at a back-to-school event on Sunday, Aug. 21 from 1 until 4 p.m. The Cave Barbershop is hosting the event and will be providing free haircuts.
"It hasn't been easy on a lot of people the past year or so, so anything we can do to help ease the burden, get kids and families back to school," said Lt. Stephen McAndrew with the Groton Police Department.
To find school supplies resources near you, visit 211.
If you still have shopping to do, it might be best to wait for Connecticut's Sales Tax Free Week. Sales Tax Free Week begins Sunday, Aug. 21 and goes through Saturday, Aug. 27.