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Organizations provide free back to school items during times of high inflation

The Finer Future Foundation in Toledo and the Cougar Closet in Sylvania both help to provide school supplies and other necessities as students start school.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Students and families in Toledo and Sylvania picked up school supplies on Sunday at no cost. 

It was all thanks to two local organizations helping out families during a period of high inflation. 

Tashayla Bell and Chelsea Heath of the Finer Future Foundation were at Rogers High School where they held their back-to-school giveaway, providing supplies and necessities for free.

"This is for everybody who was in the city that can come out, there is no charge, there is no like zip code or whatever we're cutting off at, this is for all the kids,"  Bell said.

School supply lists can be long, and store receipts can put a big dent in a family's wallet, especially this year. This is why Heath says the foundation must do something to help out.

"Prices have rose. You know it's hard out here, so definitely trying to make sure that we can do our part," Heath said.

Bell said making sure students have basic supplies such as backpacks, bookbags and pencils is important. They also gave out items that aren't necessarily on a school supply list but are essential nonetheless, including items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

In Sylvania, Brandi Shephard noticed the need at  Sylvania Southview, where she teaches. That's why she started the Cougar Closet five years ago. It provides many school items all-year round.

"We can fulfill that need, so we can be there so they can really just focus on their learning," Shephard said. "That's why they are coming to school, that's what they should focus on."

Help is not just reserved for students. Teachers can get help with their classrooms too. Shephard runs the "New Teacher Supply Closet" out of her garage.

As a new teacher, especially elementary, you're dropping at least $1,000 a year, easily that first year," Shephard said.

Shepard also works with the Sylvania Area Family Services. Together they have helped more than 500 families in need get ready for the coming school year.

Both the Cougar Closet and Finer Future Foundation plan to continue their help throughout the school year.

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