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The School Supply Gap

Updated: May 12

In 2019, families with school aged children spent an average of $ 696.70 on school supplies,. Unfortunately, not every American can afford to spend $600 dollars on school items.


Nearly 15 million students in the United States live in poverty. That’s about 1 in 5 children whose household income is under $25,750 annually. Families living below the poverty line cannot afford to pay for school supplies. Field trips, backpacks, calculators, notebooks, and even cafeteria meals are unaffordable for families living in poverty. For many people, spending $600 dollars a year to provide a child school items may not seem like a big deal. But we have to remember, these parents often have multiple children in K to 12 grade school.


So, the yearly spending budget on school supplies can easily add up to 3,000 plus. This money can be allocated toward rent, mortgage, car, and grocery payments. For parents making under $25,000 yearly, they are often faced with the difficult decision between paying the rent or providing a backpack, calculator and notebook for their children's education. Many children simply go without essential school items.


How the Lack of School Supplies Affects Children


• Creates Social Problems: Children often feel left out and ashamed when they see their peers with supplies but they do not have them.


• Creates Stigma: Children often avoid asking for help because they feel ashamed about how their peers and adults will respond.


• Creates Academic Challenges: The fact that the students want to avoid stigma translates into them not having the items, not doing the assignments, then getting behind academically. Providing these school supplies will give children more confidence and boost their chances of academic success.


The Unfair Burden On Teachers


Teachers who are often underpaid are often left to pick up the slack of providing children school items; because many school districts do not supply a budget for school supplies. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 93% of school teachers spend their own money on school supplies without getting reimbursed. On average, teachers spend roughly $4,700 yearly. to provide school supplies for their classroom. This places an unfair financial strain on teachers who are often underpaid


How Prodigy Prep is Seeking to Solve the School Supply Shortage in Brownsville


In Brownsville, 28% of residents live in poverty, compared with 20% of NYC residents. Additionally, Brownsville’s unemployment rate is higher than the citywide average of 9%. Rent burdened households pay more than 30% of their income toward housing and may have difficulty affording food, clothing, transportation and health care. Fifty-seven percent of Brownsville residents are rent burdened, this leaves little room to afford school supplies.


Here at Prodigy Prep, we are seeking to lessen the economic burden by supplying essential school supply resources to students whose households are struggling financially. We are seeking to supply computers, backpacks, and other essential resources for students in our local Brownsville community.


Your donations help even in small amounts. For example, a gift of $25 can pay for notebooks, folders, erasers, rulers, crayons, and glue. Our goal is reach 100 plus children each year.

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