EASLEY — According to the National Retail Federation, parents will spend $26.5 billion on K-12 back-to-school necessities this year. That’s an average $669.28 per child, up 5 percent from last year’s $634.78.
Elementary school kids cost the least, with high school kids nearing the top of the estimates — but either way — it can be a tough pill for parents to swallow.
Enter Tracy and Sunshine Gantt: the relentless do-gooders of Pickens County determined to make their little corner of the world a better place — for everyone.
This year, they’ll have some help.
The City of Easley will be partnering with Tracy and Sunshine Gantt Ministries to host a Back to School Bash on Aug. 11 from 10-2 p.m. at Pope Field.
The Back to School Bash will have over 500 donated book bags and other school supplies available for families in need for the upcoming school year, said Megan Wallace, community outreach coordinator for the City of Easley.
“There will be free water slides, bouncy houses, music, door prizes and food at the event,” she said, adding the Easley Police and Fire Departments will also be hosting a community cookout for the public.
“Things like this are important because I have four kids in school,” said Maxine Canterbury of Easley. “Every year, their school supply list seems to get longer and longer. My church helps — and I know those teachers buy a lot of the stuff with their own money — but it can still add up fast when you’ve got four kids.”
Canterbury said it’s not just the school supply lists, it’s the clothes, shoes and lunch boxes that can hit the wallet as well.
“All kids want to go back to school in new clothes, but sometimes you just have to make do with what you have,” she said. “When you have these groups like this that can step in and help offset the costs — even a little — it goes a long way.”
Donated items are welcome, Wallace said.
If you would like to donate any items, including school supplies and water to the ministry, please contact the Gantts at 864-301-1807 or drop them off at Easley’s City Hall located at 205 N 1st Street Easley, SC 29640.