Home Education Los Angeles and beyond: Where to find free school supplies

Los Angeles and beyond: Where to find free school supplies

Pile of school supplies.

Distance learning or not, shopping for back to school supplies can be expensive. According to the National Retail Federation, pandemic-induced circumstances are supposed to push spending to higher than ever before. In a new record, the association anticipates a spending average of nearly $790 per family with children in elementary through high school. For a lot of us, that’s not a feasible option. Below we’ve gathered a cross-country list of organizations giving away supplies so that back-to-school can be a little less overwhelming.  

1. United States: Salvation Army 

The Salvation Army is a worldwide organization, meaning you can find their help across the country. Their back-to-school program provides backpacks stuffed with school essentials. To learn more, head to their blog post here.

2. Los Angeles: Operation School Bell 

For when clothes are on the back-to-school list (yes, even for distance learning), Operation School Bell has a facility in Hollywood. The non-profit offers clothes, hygiene products, school supplies and a small toy. If Hollywood is a bit of a journey for you, OSB has a trailer that visits different school sites 12 times a year where students receive one-on-one attention with an OSB volunteer. Come spring, Operation School Bell also has a special event dedicated to prom where 200 girls chosen by LAUSD’s Homeless Education Office receive a dance-ready makeover, attire included! 

3. For teachers: Kids in Need Foundation 

Kids in Need Foundation offers teachers resources to better support their students. The organization has 42 resource centers around the U.S. where teachers can get supplied to equip students. They also offer the Supply a Teacher program, which sends teachers a large box of items for a semester. 

4. United States: Back-to-School Brigade 

Now through the end of September, Operation Homefront is providing assistance to America’s military families. The Back-to-School Brigade has stops in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, starting August 22, that are still open for registration. The event provides school supplies and is implementing COVID-19 precautionary measures. You can sign up here.

5. Los Angeles: Neighborhood Music School

In partnership with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, the Neighborhood Music School is hosting a school supply giveaway on August 29. To take part, you can register here

6. Medina, Ohio: T-Mobile School Supply Giveaway

This weekend, T-mobile’s event team is coming to Medina, Ohio to give away free school supplies to parents of students. Supplies will be available from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 22. 

7. Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: Chippewa Vineyard Church Giveaway

With social distancing protocol in place, this year’s Chippewa Vineyard Church Back to School Giveaway will feature a drive-up format. Backpacks filled with supplies and new shoes will be available for families who register upon arrival. For more information about the August 23 event, visit the giveaway’s Facebook page here.

8. Corpus Christi, Texas: Drive-Thru School Supply Giveaway 

On August 26, Esperanza de Tejas, Inc. will host a pop-up to bring school supplies to the Coastal Bend community. In partnership with the Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, a variety of supplies will be handed out from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., while supplies last. You can find more information here.

9. Los Angeles: BoostMobile Giveaway 

On August 21, 22 and 28, BoostMobile stores are offering a chance to win a backpack full of all your school needs. To learn more about participating locations, you can visit their Eventbrite page here

10. Los Angeles: Allies for Every Child

On August 22, Allies for Every Child’s Back to School drive thru is offering 200 kids with back-to-school supply kits. The first 100 families will also receive fresh produce. To learn more about the Culver City event, click here

If you have a student enrolled in an LAUSD school, click here to take the next steps in checking out a laptop or hotspot. 

Haley Bosselman
Haley Bosselman is the editor-in-chief of Culturas. She grew up in Orange County and moved to Los Angeles after earning her bachelor's degree in journalism from Arizona State University. In May 2020, Haley completed the Master of Science in journalism program at the University of Southern California. She's written a lot about music, but is geared toward any culture-related storytelling.
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