WASHINGTON, D. C. (Thursday, July 25, 2019) –– While no one is ready to think summer is over quite yet, the reality is that back-to-school time is coming soon. In an effort to help local schools, AAA Mid-Atlantic will collect school supplies through August 4 at all AAA locations, including its retail and car care centers. In addition, AAA team members will hold a local “Story Time event” for children at select locations in northern Virginia on July 31. You can drop off anything from glue sticks to pink erasers, from binders to bottles of white glue, and from geometry sets to scientific calculators.
Studies show that “starting the school year with the necessary school supplies promotes learning, boosts self-esteem and helps keep kids in school.” Families plan to spend more than ever before on school supplies during the upcoming academic year, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights and Analytics for 2019. That includes families with students going back to school and to college. But so far, most families have not purchased all of the items on their lists. Plus, some school teachers will “dig into their pockets to pay for school supplies.”
With this in mind, the “AAA School Supply Drive” encourages AAA associates, members and the public to donate new and unused school supplies. The local schools supported by the collection drive are chosen by AAA associates. After the donations are collected, AAA associates will deliver the school supplies, including wide-ruled loose leaf paper, pencil cases, rulers, staplers, and pencil sharpeners to their chosen school.
“The school supply drive aims to ensure that students will have what they need for classroom success when they get back to school,” said Victoria Stark, Retail Manager, AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The items on the back-to-school supply lists vary, depending upon the school district and the child’s grade level, research shows. Unfortunately, some families can’t afford all the back-to-school supplies their young scholars need. Such expenses can run several hundred dollars per student. It can put a lot a stress in a household. This drive takes pressure off children and families and gets the school year started right.”
This year, families will spend an estimated $26.2 billion on supplies ranging from pencils and backpacks to computers and dorm refrigerators, according to the NRF. That is down from “last year’s $27.5 billion despite the increase in per-household spending,” explains the NRF. The NRF estimates:
Families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70. That’s up from $684.79 last year and tops the previous record of $688.62 set in 2012.
Families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17 and tops the previous record of $969.88 set in 2017.
On top of that, many school teachers are spending their own money on school supplies for their classrooms. A few years ago, they spent $1.6 billion out of their own pockets, according to the Education Market Association. Last year, the average teacher spent $480 each on supplies for their classrooms. Some teachers are “turning to free supply shops to outfit their classrooms.”
By the way, the NRF survey also found “89 percent of both K-12 and college shoppers still had half or more of their purchases left to complete. Of those, 49 percent were waiting for the best deals for items on their lists.”
“In addition to engendering a safer pedestrian environment around schools with its AAA School Safety Patrol program, which boasts more than 654,000 Patrollers in 34,500 schools across America, AAA is helping local schools collect school supplies. Oh yes, you can pitch in by dropping off supplies,” said Milan Patnaik, Retail Manager, AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The list of the most-needed school supplies varies by grade level, and includes everything from crayons to glue sticks, from blunt tip scissors to wide ruled spiral bound notebooks, and from pocket dictionaries, plus pocket thesauruses, to pocket folders.”
What is more, AAA has added a special feature to the School Supply Drive this year – a “Story Time” event, geared to children ages two to six at select AAA locations. Locally, the Story Time events will take place Wednesday, July 31 at 2 p.m. at AAA Fairfax and AAA Manassas Car Care Insurance and Travel Center. AAA Associates will read to the children who attend and snacks will be provided.
Story Time Locations in Northern Virginia:
AAA Fairfax, 4100 Monument Corner Drive, Suite 120, Fairfax, VA 22030
AAA Manassas Car Care Insurance and Travel Center, 7865 Sudley Road. Manassas, VA 20109
While dropping of donations, all are invited and encouraged to take AAA’s “Don’t Drive Intexticated” pledge or to find it at AAA.com/dontdrivedistracted. AAA’s multi-year initiative “Don’t Drive Intoxicated—Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign links the impact of drinking and driving with distracted driving. Both are comparably dangerous and deadly, research shows, killing and injuring drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists. “Texting and phone use are leading causes of distracted driving.”
Tragically, 126 people were killed and 13,733 persons were injured in crashes involving distracted driving in Virginia during 2018, according to the Virginia Highway Safety Office’s 2018 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report. The distracted driver was speeding in 41 of the fatalities, the distracted driver was drinking in 34 of the fatalities and the distracted driver was not using a seat belt in 41 of the fatalities. According to the Maryland Highway Safety Office, “183 people die every year in Maryland from distracted driving crashes, and more than 27,000 more are injured.” Distraction also contributes to “58 percent of all crashes in Maryland.”
“With more distractions than ever, motorists need to make a new commitment as the school year begins to put the phone away and watch out for students,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “What is more, a person using a cellphone while driving is four times as likely to be involved in a crash as drivers who are not.”
“AAA cares deeply about the communities in which we live and serve,” said Stark. To locate a AAA nearest you, please go to https://midatlantic.aaa.com/about/stores.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and nearly 79,000 members in the District of Columbia. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit http://aaa.com