August 9, 2011 (Los Angeles) – As the economy continues to falter and children prepare to go back to school, World Vision teams across the country warn that the need for basic supplies will greatly outstrip donations. This year, approximately 25,000 children will receive backpacks filled with school supplies from the Christian humanitarian organization; still donations cannot keep up with the increasing demand.
"We are very troubled not only by what we are hearing from our staff, but by the trends we are seeing nationwide," says Romanita Hairston, World Vision’s vice president for the charity’s U.S. programs. "As the U.S. economy continues to sputter children in poverty will pay the price. The unemployment numbers are particularly concerning. If parents cannot find jobs, that means basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, binders and backpacks are a luxury item many families simply cannot afford."
At World Vision’s site in New York City, requests for backpacks are expected to top over 16,000 this year, but just over 37% of those in need will receive a backpack filled with school supplies
In Seattle/Tacoma, approximately 7,000 children are on waiting lists for backpacks from World Vision
In Los Angeles, thousands of families in need are expected to wait in line for a backpack distribution on August 20th in Compton
"Our goal is to help prevent parents from having to choose between buying school supplies and buying groceries," says Grace Lubwama, Southern California executive director for World Vision. "Since 1997, World Vision has distributed backpacks to more than 250,000 children nationwide. For the past several years we have seen the number of families in need increase, and this year is no exception."
"With families financially stretched, the burden often falls on teachers to dig into their own pockets to provide basic classroom learning tools," explains Brian Boyd, Pacific Northwest field site director with World Vision. "Research shows that teachers already spend an average of $356 of their own money on school supplies*, and many teachers I work with spend a lot more."
Last year, World Vision served more than 23,000 teachers and 450,000 students through eight teacher resource centers in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Appalachia. These resource centers serve schools that have a high portion of the children on free or reduced lunch. Teachers can go "shopping" four times per school year for a variety of classroom supplies from pencils and paper to books and math tools.
For interviews and more information on backpack distributions across the nation, please contact: Christine Connolly Bell, email@example.com, 323.208.2444
*Source - National School Supply & Equipment Assoc. - 2010 Retail Market Awareness Study
About World Vision World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor— regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.For more information on their efforts, visitWorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews