Monday, August 04, 2014

For impoverished rural families, back-to-school shopping is not an option

Anyone who dared go anywhere near malls or retail stores this weekend may have run into mobs of families participating in the annual ritual of back-to-school shopping. "According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school spending this year is expected to average $634.78 per family," with $231.30 spent on clothes, $124.46 on shoes and between $212.35 to $229.88 on electronics. (Second Judicial Circuit Guardian and Litem Program photo)

But for impoverished families in rural areas, back-to-school shopping is an experience that either depletes them of much-needed funds, or is something they're forced to skip, Jenni Frankenberg Veal reports for in Chattanooga.

"Within an hour’s drive from Chattanooga, Southeast Tennessee is home to three counties that rank in the top 10 percent of the nation’s most economically distressed counties, according to the Appalachian Regional Commission: Grundy, Meigs and Bledsoe counties. In Bledsoe County 84 percent of students are listed as economically disadvantaged, Veal writes. As a result, many students rely on donations to get their school supplies. Amanda Prichett, elementary school supervisor for Meigs County schools, told Veal, "If a child has school supplies when he or she begins school, it is one less thing the family and the child has to worry about. The earlier we can intervene, the better." (Read more)

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