Need for school supplies greater this year as students prepare for back to school

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 4:00 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In just a few short weeks, students and teachers will go back to school.

For many kids in Mecklenburg County, it will be their first true back-to-school day since 2019.

Of course, the pandemic impacted the school year greatly in 2020.

Now, students and teachers want their best foot forward as they get closer to normal.

And part of that is starting the year stocked with school supplies, which some organizations say can be part of the key to success.

“Many of our parents are concerned they don’t have enough supplies,” said Belinda Colter, the executive director of Innovative Learning Inc.

The pandemic affected life in every single way. Many are still trying to get back on their feet.

“Now parents are looking at just going back to work, taking care of the essentials. School supplies are kind of at the bottom of the list,” Colter said.

But Colter, who runs an education center, says not having enough school supplies can affect the student’s path to success.

“We don’t want children to think there’s some kind of failure there because they don’t have what they need,” she said. “Or their family doesn’t support them, we don’t want children to feel that way.”

That’s why she says school supply drives this year, are more important than ever.

“Having those backpacks full of notebooks, and binders, pencil, and crayons depending on the grade level makes them able to go back into school with the confidence that I can do this. I can do whatever my teacher asks me to do because I have the tools to do that,” she said.

To help fill that gap, teachers bring their own supplies.

They can spend up to $1,000 dollars each year. That’s why school supply drives for both teachers and students make such an impact in the classroom.

Maddy Stevens with Classroom Central, a Charlotte-based school supply organization, says 1 out of 2 local students come to school empty-handed.

According to Stevens, when students receive free school supplies, 93 percent of teachers say it has a positive impact on student confidence, and 95 percent of teachers say it helps with student-teacher relationships.

“When you get in the classroom and half of the class has supplies and the student is sitting there and they can’t pull out a piece of paper or pencil out of their backpack, it really hurts their confidence,” Stevens said. “For a teacher to be able to provide that, we hear so many stories of how kids just blossom in the classroom.”

Classroom Central handed out free supplies to teachers on Wednesday to help teachers and students get ready for the upcoming school year.

If you’d like to help, you can donate money or school supplies to Classroom Central. They also can help assist you in hosting a school supply drive in your community.

You can find out more on

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