9 organizations helping Pittsburgh kids with back-to-school supplies

When the summer swelter fades, back-to-school shopping is just heating up.

For many families, this annual expense wreaks havoc on the budget. Thankfully, there are many local organizations helping parents, as well as teachers, stock up on supplies before the academic year begins.

Here are 9 organizations that will help.

1. The Education Partnership 

Located in the West End, The Education Partnership provides classroom items for students and teachers in low-income districts throughout the seven-county region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. This year, the nonprofit will be supporting 139 schools, which equates to 4,500 teachers and nearly 55,000 pupils. That comes to $4.5 million in essential school supplies.

The organization’s efforts pay off.

During the 2018-2019 school year, The Education Partnership impacted 45 thousand students and 4,000 teachers in 110 schools. Forty percent of teachers who completed an impact survey reported an increase in student attendance, while 95 percent acknowledged a jump in both classroom participation and creativity.

Giving teachers the proper tools helps them do their jobs, with 97 percent reporting a critical or important impact on instructional choices and support for students with special needs.

August is filled with events to support the partnership’s mission. Some highlights include:

  • Buzzy and Bubba’s Backpack Brigade, a partnership between Richard Bazzy Shultz Ford and 100.7 Star Radio’s Bubba Show, will collect new and used backpacks on Aug. 9. The team will broadcast live from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Schultz Ford in Wexford. You can also drop off a backpack at Shults Ford in Harmarville. Other donation locations include Donaldson’s Crossroads Shopping Center in Canonsburg and Elevated Oral and Implant Surgery in the South Hills.
  • Through Sept. 30, Clearview Federal Credit Union is collecting donations at participating branches in the Pittsburgh area.
  • Giant Eagle customers through Sept. 5 can donate one dollar or more at the checkout counter. The grocery store chain is teaming up with WPXI to host a Pack the Bus event on Saturday, Aug, 17. Help fill six yellow vehicles with pencils, paper, binders and other items at stores in Settler’s Ridge, South Side, Donaldson’s Crossroads, Camp Horne Road, Monroeville and Village Square.

2. Pittsburgh Public Schools

The seventh-annual #WeArePPS Back to School Event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 19 at Barack Obama Academy of International Studies. At the celebration, open to all current Pittsburgh Public School students, families will receive free food, book bags, haircuts, manicures, uniforms and shoes. A Parent Resource Fair with more than 30 providers will be on-site, along with special guests Pittsburgh Steeler Bud Dupree and Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet.

3. Trinity Church of Washington 

Party on the Hill at Trinity Church — and you’ll help kids in the process! On Aug. 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Main Street house of worship will throw a community bash highlighted by free food and family-friendly activities, including bouncy houses, crafts, face painting and games. In addition to the fun, the church will hand out school supplies on a first-come, first-served basis.

4. Narrow Way International Ministries 

Who doesn’t like live music, food and games? Narrow Way International Ministries is throwing a Back-to-School Bash on Aug. 25 at 1 p.m. at 615 Taft Ave. in Pittsburgh. To help them bid farewell to summer, children will receive a meal and school supplies.

5. North Hills Community Outreach

Since 1987, North Hills Community Outreach has been helping families in the northern suburbs work through tough times, which includes the back-to-school crunch. The organization is collecting new backpacks, notebooks, color pencils, scissors, pencil boxes and other items. Drop off locations include all NHCO offices and local churches Nativity Lutheran, St. Alphonsus and St. Alexis.

6. South Hills Interfaith Movement

For 51 years, South Hills Interfaith Movement has been providing food, clothing and services to people in need throughout the South Hills. The organization will hold three back-to-school supply events for families in Baldwin-Whitehall, Bethel Park, Keystone Oaks, Mt. Lebanon, South Park and Upper St. Clair school districts this month. There is no registration necessary. The dates are:

  • Aug. 12 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Pleasant Hills Presbyterian Church, 199 Old Clairton Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15236.
  • Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bethel Park Community Center, 5151 Park Ave., Bethel Park, PA 15102.
  • Aug. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at SHIM Family Center, 41 Macek Dr., Pittsburgh PA 15227.

7. Homeless Children’s Education Fund 

The Homeless Children’s Education Fund was established in 1999 to tend to the needs of homeless kids in Allegheny County. Since 2006, staff members and volunteers collect and fill new backpacks with age-appropriate school supplies, which will be delivered to homeless housing provider agencies and community organizations. This year’s drop-offs will be accepted Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

8. The Salvation Army Homewood/Brushton 

The Salvation Army’s Family Fun Day and Back-to-School Carnival will take place on Aug. 16 from 4 to 6 p.m. at 8020 Frankstown Ave. Arrive early; the first 100 children will receive a free book bag.

9. Community Empowerment Association

The Community Empowerment Association’s annual Back-to-School Supply Drive is Aug. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. at 7120 Kelly Street. Collected items, including spiral notebooks, calculators, uniforms and glue sticks, will be distributed at The Gazebo in Homewood at the corner of N. Homewood and Frankstown avenues.