Cost of School Supplies Can Limit Academic Equity
The average American is expected to spend nearly $850 on back-to-school supplies for K-12 students in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. The cost of school supplies, including paper products, can create limitations to student achievement, especially in lower-income communities. This has been especially evident during the pandemic, where a lack of school supplies led to learning loss for some students.
According to the Kids in Need Foundation, 90 percent of teachers say at least three out of four students arrive to class without the necessary supplies, and these students likely do not have the right supplies at home to do their schoolwork. Additionally, they report that having school supplies increases students’ confidence, improves their participation in class and gives them more opportunity.
That’s why Domtar sponsors school supply drives in multiple communities where our employees live and work. We have standing partnerships with organizations such as the Office Depot Start Proud!™ Program, which directly benefits students in low-income communities, and Classroom Central in Charlotte, N.C., which provides much-needed supplies to teachers, who often pay out of their own pockets for supplies for their classrooms and their students.
This year, through the Start Proud! Program, Domtar donated backpacks filled with school supplies to all students at John F. Long Elementary School in Phoenix, Ariz. The company will also donate backpacks to students at schools in Florida, Colorado, Texas, California, Michigan and North Carolina this year, and over the past several years, Domtar has donated more than $500,000 to the Start Proud! Program.
Additionally, our employees are participating in school supply donation drives at our Fort Mill headquarters and Nekoosa Mill that will benefit students most in need of free school supplies. Donations from Fort Mill employees go to Classroom Central, which supports nearly 200 schools across six school districts in the Charlotte Metro area, where one in two students comes to school empty-handed.