A local children’s charity is reporting a notable rise in the number of people seeking assistance with back-to-school suppliers.
While Variety the Children’s Charity would not link the increase to the tax measures introduced in the austerity Budget presented by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on May 30, Executive Director Donnah Russell said those asking for help include people with a means of income, but not enough to meet their needs.
“I know what I am seeing. And I am seeing families with income, but their expenses are far exceeding the income and they cannot make ends meet and they are coming and asking for assistance. So we have this new dynamic of persons that we have to try and fulfil their need as it is a demand that is happening and we have to respond to it,” Russell said.
The charity was this week presented with 200 pairs of shoes by the specialty family footwear retailer Payless, for its back-to-school programme.
Russell said even with such contributions, it would be difficult to satisfy the growing demand.
“We are really pleased with this donation because for this year our back-to-school programme has been really, really challenging. We have had more families coming for assistance . . . . Anybody who knows me, when you explain your story to me and I can back up your story then it is [hard] to turn away these new families,” she said.
“They are asking for school items. They are asking for help. Sometimes the family may have four children but they have met the needs for two or three but they are asking for assistance with the others. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from at September you want your children to go to school looking a certain way. You want to make sure they have pens, pencils, crayons etc,” the charity worker explained.
She explained that the already burdened parents were being asked to contribute even more to their children’s education that they have had to in the past.
In addition to the normal supplies, parents are being asked to provide articles for which the schools would normally be responsible.
“If you see the new school list it has reams of paper, it has things that we would normally expect from the school. But the school is asking the parents to provide these things. So, it means that even if you are accustomed giving your children uniforms and books there are extra things which you have to provide for your children and in so [doing there] is an increase in demand and it’s a different dynamic of family that we are seeing coming forward,” she Russell emphasized.