A recent poll conducted for the National Retail Foundation found that 54 percent of households plan to spend the same amount on this year's school supplies that they spent last year, but 37.1 percent of the adults polled said they plan to shop for sales more often, according to data on the NRF's website.
Even at sale prices, buying school supplies is not an inexpensive endeavor.
According to NRF data, planned back-to-school spending per household this time last year was expected to average just under $100 per student for basic supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and the like. This number does not include back-to-school clothing or shoes, which are also frequent purchases at the beginning of the school year.
You can help make going back to school easier for Carroll County students in need by contributing to the North East Social Action Program (NESAP) school supplies drive, which provides everything from backpacks to notebooks to shoes.
Lynn Sheavly, executive director of NESAP, said the supplies will be distributed to Carroll County residents in need whom NESAP has served during the year. She said they send a letter every June to the families they serve with a postcard each family can return to NESAP to let them know they have a student in need of school supplies they cannot otherwise afford.
NESAP gathers supply lists from area schools and tailors each backpack to meet the needs of its new owner by filling it with supplies from the appropriate school's list.
Each year, the program provides school supplies to students in grades from Head Start through high school and sometimes even college, Sheavly said.
In addition to accepting school supplies such as binders, highlighters and notebooks, NESAP accepts monetary donations and Walmart gift cards in values of $10, $15 and $20.
The gift cards help NESAP close the gap by buying items they did not receive as donations as well as making sure clients can purchase much-needed back-to-school shoes for their children.
Sheavly said Walmart, because it is local, is the most popular store for many of their clients, who may not have a car to be able to drive to Westminster to do their shopping.
"Gift cards help supply those back-to-school needs that most children need to get," she said.
The annual school supplies drive, headed by Marianne Larson, NESAP program manager, runs through this Saturday, Aug. 1.
Donations can be dropped off at the NESAP Thrift Store, at 1046 S. Carroll Street in Hampstead. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday with extended hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The store is closed on Sundays.
NESAP is a nonprofit that provides Carroll County residents in need with clothing, food, financial and other assistance.
For more information, call NESAP at 410-239-6216 or visit their website at www.nesapinc.org.
Hampstead fire company offers cash raffle
Tickets are on sale now for the Hampstead fire company's cash raffle. Tickets are $10 each. Only 5,000 tickets will be sold.
Proceeds benefit the fire company.
Kenny Ruby, fire company president, said this is the second year for the cash raffle and that their first raffle, held last year, was successful.
All drawings will be held from 3-8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, at the fire company's social hall at 1341 N. Main Street in Hampstead.
Every ticket has two four-digit numbers, giving you two chances to win prizes. Every ticket, even if it wins a spin early in the afternoon, is eligible for every prize including the grand prize.
On Nov. 12, doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and the wheels will start spinning at 3 p.m. The wheels will be spun every 10 minutes, with a different prize amount for each spin. Prizes range from $100 to $1,000.
The $5,000 grand prize winning numbers, which will be the same as the numbers drawn in the Maryland Lottery's Pick 4 evening drawing, will be announced at 8 p.m.
Winners do not need to be present on Nov. 12 in order to win but if you do attend the event you can enjoy all the excitement of the wheels plus food and beverages provided by the fire company and auxiliary.
Ages 13 and up must have tickets to attend the event but you must be 18 or older to claim prizes.
To purchase tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy tickets in-person at the fire hall from 6:30 to 8 p.m. most Wednesdays; call the fire hall at 410-239-4280 before you go to confirm.
For more information, visit the fire company website at www.hampsteadvfd.org.
Donna Mortensen will no longer be writing for Neighborhoods after Aug. 10, as she plans to return to grad school. The Carroll County Times is seeking a correspondent to cover the North Carroll area for Neighborhoods. If you're interested, please email a resume and 2-3 writing samples to email@example.com with the subject line: North Carroll Neighborhoods.
School supplies needed
•Large cloth pencil pouches with binder holes
•Large backpacks, 12" to 14" wide
•3-ring binders in 1", 1.5", and 2" widths in assorted colors
•Pocket portfolios - green, orange, purple, yellow
•Pocket portfolios with prong fasteners in assorted colors
•Composition notebooks in assorted colors
•Spiral notebooks - blue, green, orange, purple, yellow
•Dry erase markers in assorted colors
•Pointed-end scissors in assorted colors
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Additional items needed are listed on the NESAP website at www.nesapinc.org.