ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As inflation continues to rise, school supplies are expected to be more costly this summer compared to previous years. Efforts from local organizations continue, with a goal of stocking classrooms with supplies that teachers and students in areas of higher poverty need.

This year, leaders of the “Pencils and Paper” school supply drive say what was previously an $800 value has increased to $1,400. That’s due to rising costs brought on by inflation. There’s still time to donate before the drive ends, and you can do so here.

Through the drive, Jewish Family Services is providing the essentials for its fifth consecutive year. This time around, organizers say the value per classroom is adding up.

“The teachers walk out of the store with the supplies they can bring back to their students,” Betsy Bringewatt, interim president of Jewish Family Services, said. “It ends up benefitting over 30,000 students each year in our community.”

Volunteers with Jewish Family Services are getting ready to welcome hundreds of teachers back to the organization’s annual drive. 

In collaboration with the United Way and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, “Pencils and Paper” will serve more than 70 public and private schools in the Rochester area.

“Teachers from high poverty schools in the area are invited to come to our store and walk down the aisles and fill their carts with materials. They’re invited to shop twice a year,” said Bringewatt.

Economists from RIT estimate the average expenses of school supplies per household will go up by roughly 40 percent this year.

As teachers are still adapting to challenges brought forth by the pandemic, organizers of the drive say they are glad to extend the support to registered schools most impacted by poverty.

At a time when budgets are already tight, those teachers will start a new school year with carts full of supplies that parents would otherwise have to purchase.

The supply drive ends next Friday. By mid-August, registered teachers will be able to pick up what they need. Collectively, volunteers with the program are devoting more than 2,000 hours to the initiative this year.