Students on Vancouver Island are getting ready to head back to school after summer break, but before the first bell rings they need a long list of supplies.
The rising cost of everything is forcing many families to make difficult decisions, and school supplies are only adding to those troubles. For those who sell those supplies, they’re seeing some changes when it comes to cart size.
“I think people, parents especially, are being more fiscally responsible but also a bit more prudent with their buying,” says James Bullen, a store leader at Monk Office.
According to Stats Canada, parents will be reaching a little deeper into their wallets with the overall cost of supplies up nearly three per cent since July of last year.
While parents are well aware they’ll have to dish out big bucks every year at this time, the rising cost of food and housing in the region isn’t making it any easier for families to budget.
Treska Watson, director of operations at The Mustard Seed, has witnessed many local parents struggling with back-to-school costs. It’s why the food bank launched ‘Fair Start for Kids’, providing more back-to-school kits this year than ever before.
“Demand is high, we actually just accelerated the program the include up to 600 families and all 600 families were able to come through our doors and receive school supplies, backpacks, and new shoes with a gift card for snacks as well,” says Watson.
Ultimately, she says it’s about children making it to school feeling confident and excited to learn.
“I think we all feel really great when we have a new pair of shoes, or a new bag, or something like that and I remember going to school, that first day of school you just have a little more confidence, a little bit more of a spring in your step, you’ve got snacks in your backpack, you’re ready to go, ready to learn, ready to meet new friends,” she adds.