MOREHEAD CITY, NC (WITN) – The fall semester is fast approaching for most schools and communities in Eastern Carolina who are coming together to continue their efforts to gather school supplies.

Carteret County Public Schools held their annual Stuff the Bus school supply donation drive Wednesday in Morehead City.

Community members in the county say donations are especially important this year.

“Unfortunately, especially since April, the impact has taken a bit of a toll on us,” said Adrianna Menard, mother of a rising 6th grader.

Menard added that it was her first time at a Stuff the Bus event and said inflation has made back-to-school shopping particularly difficult this year.

“I was worried about school supplies for the kids and what we were going to do. You get a regular laptop, you pay $3 when it was fifty cents, ten cents, so with all the monetary costs going up, I just don’t know how much these families can afford this,” Menard continued.

Retail analytics show that a basket of around a dozen supply items is up nearly 15% on average from last year’s back-to-school purchases.

Carteret County Public Schools partnered with Parkview Baptist Church and several other community organizations to host the event Wednesday.

The school system and its partners managed to find enough products for more than 600 children, adding haircuts and styles, and free shoes, for this year’s event.

“We know if they go to school without shoes, if they go to school without supplies, they fall behind. So we want to make them as ready, available and able to succeed as possible,” said Parkview Baptist pastor John Carswell.

Menard’s son, Ayden-Lee Menard, says he likes the way they give out free supplies.

“If I really wanted to and my mom didn’t have enough money to buy school supplies, I could just come here and get school supplies for college or something,” Ayden-Lee Menard said. .

“You don’t want to send your kids to school without shoes, haircuts, bags of books. They gave us paper. They gave us all types of notebooks. Anything they could think of, that whether they need it or not for their class, everyone had it. It’s wonderful,” said Adriana Ménard.

The school system says it plans to distribute supplies Sunday, Aug. 14, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at four locations: Broad Creek Middle School, Newport Middle School, Beaufort Elementary School and Smyrna Elementary School.

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