ST. LOUIS — This time of year, most students are excited about heading back to class.
But for students whose parents can't afford school supplies, the first day of school can be a stressful time.
The group "KidSmart” is relieving that stress for thousands of families Wednesday afternoon.
KidSmart told 5 On Your Side, more than 90,000 St. Louis area children can’t afford basic school supplies each year. That's enough kids to fill Busch Stadium twice.
$1 million worth of free school supplies will be given away Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Ballpark Village for this year’s Distribution Day.
The Buck family, Ballpark Village and KidSmart are teaming up for the supply giveaway.
Books, backpacks and more will be given out.
Supplies are going to 40,000 students in need. Eight-hundred teachers will be arriving in downtown St. Louis in their cars to collect the supplies. The Distribution Day will be held in a drive-thru setup.
Walmart, St. Louis Blues for Kids, Starbucks, Ameren, Deirbergs and many more companies lent a hand in the “Big Backpack Build” to help fund the $1 million worth of school supplies for kids.
Local teachers had to pre-register to receive the supplies and interest was high this year.
In 2021, $600,000 worth of free supplies were given away. This year, the goal has nearly doubled to match a growing need for assistance.
The National Retail Federation said families with kids in elementary to high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school items. That's about $15 more than last year’s average cost.
The federation reports, 42% of parents are searching for sales, 35% are buying generic brand supplies and 24% are reusing supplies to save money.
Teachers – if you know you have some students in need and you weren't able to pre-register for the Distribution Day, there are other ways to get free supplies.
Teachers can volunteer at KidSmart for a few hours and get up to $1,000 in school supplies for students in their classes.
Find more information and details on how to give to students in need, click here.