Back-to-school costs sending some N.S. families to food bank

A Halifax food bank says more families are relying on them to help keep back-to school costs down.

Elementary school supplies cost $140 per student on average in Halifax

A Halifax food bank says more families are relying on them to help keep back-to-school costs down.

“I'm a single mother doing it by myself, no help from dad so it's hard sometimes,” said Amy Murphy.

Her six-year-old twins start Grade 1 this September.

She says she has trouble paying for everything they need.

In Halifax, elementary school supplies cost on average $140 per student. For middle school students it's around $175.

So for the second year in a row, Murphy has turned to a local food bank for things like backpacks, crayons and scissors.

“I really thank everyone who does go out there and does this kind of work during the summer for the people that can't get the help that they need, that are single and doing it all by themselves,” she said.

Cynthia Louis, associate director of planned giving with the Parker Street Food & Furniture Bank, says the demand for school supplies goes up every year.

“We have people on social assistance and they can't afford it. We have people that are working but they aren’t making enough to be able to supply school supplies. Some people are faced with the dilemma, they have to pay their power bill or pay rent and get school supplies. It's hard sometimes,” she said.

Louis says they have 400 requests for backpacks and school supplies.

She expects that number to double closer to the start of school.

Students only have about two weeks to get their backpacks and school supplies ready for the first day of school.