Where to Get Free School Supplies for Kids

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Free school supplies help low-income families start the year prepared to study. If you need free back-to-school supplies or uniforms, the Salvation Army is a part of the effort to help low-income families get ready for school.  Back-to-school time is one of the favorite times of the year for many parents.  After Summer is over and the kids finally return to their daily studies.  Free school items give children some of the tools they need to succeed in school.

It can be stressful for families that can not afford to buy school supplies for their kids.   Some people don’t understand how many families need help with school supplies.  That long list of supplies parents needs to buy for school starts to get expensive.  If you have two or more children, it can really be expensive, along with buying new shoes and school clothes.  Therefore, the Salvation Army will supply backpacks for kids and school uniforms.

Here is a list of the Best Places to Get Free Back to School Supplies

There are several churches and community organizations, and charities in the United States that help needy families get children ready for the school year.  Below is a list of places to go for free school supplies for students.

Salvation Army

Every year beginning in July, the Salvation Army helps low-income children with free school supplies.  Children go on a shopping spree for their school supplies.   This is done through a gift card to be used only for this purpose.  Please check with your local Salvation Army to determine if this back-to-sch00l program is offered in your area.  Not all programs and services are offered at every location.


Local Churches

Many local churches donate school items to kids every year.  If you attend a church, find out if they have a school drive.  If not, suggest they begin one.   Churches of all denominations and sizes give school supplies to the community’s children.  You can also call around, starting with larger and local denominational congregations. Churches

Kids in Need Foundation

The Kids in Need Foundation works with schools across the country that have a high enrollment of children living below the poverty level.  Parents can not get school supplies personally but speak to their child’s teacher.  This organization allows teachers to obtain a variety of back-to-school supplies to give to their students. This eliminates the need for the students’ families to purchase these supplies.

School bags loaded with supplies are available for schools where most students qualify for the free discounted lunch program.  Teachers in qualified schools will be notified of the day and time you can go to the warehouse to pick up items for your kids.

Operation Homefront

Helps military families with multiple resources like help with rent, medical, etc.  Their Back to School Brigade helps children of military families with back-to-school supplies.  Each year they hand out thousands of backpacks filled with supplies, donating millions of dollars worth of supplies.  For seven years, Dollar Tree has sponsored the program.  They work directly with the program and help to set up and collect from their 5,000 stores nationwide. For more information, go here.

Community Charities

Every community has local charities like the Salvation Army. Many communities in the country have local organizations that operate programs designed to help prepare students for school by purchasing their school supplies.  If you need supplies for your child, you should contact your local school or your local United Way to see what programs are available in your area.  Church assistance programs.


Many churches have school supply drives each fall, not only for members but for needy families in the community.  Two months before school starts, begin calling the churches in your area or call 2-1-1 for more information about free school drives.


If you live in a low-income community, your child’s school teachers are probably eligible for the kids in need program.  If you know who your child’s teacher, reach out to her to let her know you need school supplies.

To find free back to school supplies in your city go here and enter your city and words, “free school suppplies.

Best Places to Get Cheap School Supplies

If anything is missing from your kid’s supply list, there are few places to get cheap items for school.  Family Dollar is located in most communities nationwide.

Dollar Tree  – The best thing about Dollar Tree is unlike Family Dollar, everything is exactly $1!  They have pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, binders, paper storage, and organization tools—all you need for the first day of school.

Wal-Mart – This store is well known for its sales and affordable items for the entire family.  Back to school specials are always available.  Look for flyers in the Sunday news or on their website.

Target – These community stores have great specials on a wide variety of items.  (Also, check out how to get assistance for Christmas and free toys.)

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