Tips for getting school supplies for cheap... or free

One Day at a Time has been serving the community for nearly 40 years, but this year they're seeing more families that need help.

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, August 12, 2022
Tips for getting school supplies for cheap... or free
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ODAAT is stocking up on school supplies to give away to the community.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- When walking through the office of the North Philadelphia nonprofit One Day at a Time (ODAAT), Decessca Davis is quick to point out the stacks of boxes aren't a regular sight.

"So much stuff going on in here. The office doesn't usually look like this," she said.

But the piles of items prove to be messy in a good way. ODAAT is stocking up on school supplies to give away to the community.

"The book bags are stuffed with a lot of items," said Davis, who is a case manager with the organization.

"We have school uniforms this year to give away," she said, adding that the organization is also providing after-school snacks for kids.

The backpacks and school supplies will be given away at an event that ODAAT is hosting on Saturday, August 20.

The event was the idea of ODAAT's President Mel Wells, who wanted to celebrate his birthday by hosting the giveaway. It'll also feature a kids' carnival and a giveaway of household items including laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and diapers.

The giveaway and family festival will be held from 12-6 at Winchester Rec Center in North Philadelphia.

One Day at a Time has been serving the community for nearly 40 years, but this year they're seeing more families that need help.

"First of all, groceries are crazy, right?" said Davis. "Some of their parents are priced out of some things."

The rising prices have increased the need for school supply giveaways, but even parents who can buy supplies are looking for a deal.

Sara Rathner with NerdWallet says school shopping should actually start at home.

"Before you set foot in a store or go online, take an inventory of what you have at home," said Rathner.

What you don't have another parent might have, so consider a swap of new or gently-used school supplies.

And when you do go out to stores, know that weekends might be rough.

"Stores are more crowded on the weekend," said Rathner. "That can lead to a more stressful shopping experience and a lot of empty shelves."

That type of situation makes weekday shopping more appealing. In some cases, it can also increase your chances of finding items on sale before the crowds snag them all up.

"You can use a website like Flipp," said Rathner. "You can search by your zip code and that lets you see what's on sale that week in your area."

For smaller stuff don't skip the dollar stores.

"Construction paper, markers, things like that," Rathner said of good options for dollar store purchases, adding that some discount grocery stores also carry school supplies.

If the list for school and home are too much, know that organizations like ODAAT are here to help. ODAAT often relies on the help of donations and volunteers both of which are detailed options on the organization's website, https://odaat-philly.org/.

Their hope for the upcoming giveaway is to set up families and kids for a successful school year.

"We help everybody," said Davis.