EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (PIX11) — Families lined up to receive backpacks filled with school supplies. Good Shepherd Services, a nonprofit group in East New York, held its third annual book bag giveaway.

The cost of school supplies is at an all-time high. Many families struggle to make it happen. Organizers said the need is greater than ever before. The event’s goal is to ensure every child gets what they need to succeed at the start of the school year. 

Deborah Squires from East New York is getting free new book bags packed with school supplies for her two daughters. No one is more excited than her three-year-old, starting preschool in the fall. The sisters turned the sidewalk into a catwalk, showing off their new bookbags.

Squires is not frustrated alone about how much going back to school costs for supplies.

The National Retail Federation, a trade association that advocates for retailers nationwide, surveyed 7800 consumers between June 30 and July 6 of this year. According to the annual back-to-class survey from the NRF, families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $890.07 on back-to-school items this year, approximately $25 more than last year’s record of $864.35 and a new high. Since 2003, NRF has conducted a comprehensive survey on back-to-class shopping trends.

Demond Pearson is the Vice president of community centers for Good Shepherd Services. Right now, he said, there is a critical need for families living paycheck to paycheck. The cost of going back to school is just too much. Good Shepherd Services has events like this all year round all across the city. They also offer job training and after-school programs.  

Kersha Maximin from East New York said all three of her kids got new back bags.  

There will be more school supply giveaways and events coming soon. On Aug. 26, the giveaway will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn. Along with Sept. 9 in the Bronx at the Monterey Cornerstone Community Center from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.