SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Right now, Utah families are getting their kids ready to go back to school. But for some, that can be a bigger challenge than others. That’s why one group, called The Single Parent Project, is working to lighten the load for single parents in need.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18% of kids in Utah are living in single-parent households. The Single Parent Project said the costs of going back to school can especially be hard on families with one income.
To help some of those families, they’re hosting their 3rd annual backpack drive this Wednesday, where they’re asking people to donate backpacks, glue, paper, pencils, calculators, and anything kids may need to head back to the classroom.
Amanda Albert, a single mother of three, said she’s had to take care of her children on her own since leaving an abusive relationship.
“I live paycheck to paycheck. I make too much money to receive any form of assistance from the government, so it’s all on me,” she said.
Albert shared she’s extremely grateful for The Single Parent Project relieving some of the worries that can come with going back to school.
“I can be there and focus on my kids instead of stressing out about how I’m going to buy a backpack because theirs has this hole from last year. How I’m going to provide paper or crayons or like anything school, like even clothes… Just to be able to alleviate a little bit of that financial burden is immense,” Albert remarks.
Meghann Brimhall, one of the founders of the organization, claims this project has a personal place in her heart.
“I was in that position. I was a single parent, and I know what it’s like to all of a sudden have something sneak up on you, and you have to come up with additional money,” she said. “Our biggest hope is that we can just eliminate stress. Something as simple as a backpack or school supplies, those add up, and if you have more than one kid, I mean, just one backpack is anywhere from $15 to $50.”
Brimhall says they’re grateful for the community support they receive that makes this possible, sharing that one business is donating 80 backpacks at this drive.
Jennie Bippes says all of her three kids are each a year apart, in high school, and involved in sports, which can be quite costly, and that The Single Parent Project has made a huge difference in her life.
“I think all of us collectively would love to just be able to do what it is or raise the kids the way that we want to raise them or do the things that we want to do, and I think living on a single income sometimes makes that impossible. To have something like this available is just absolutely amazing,” she states.
Not only do they help with expenses, Bippes believes they create a much-needed network of support.
Bippes comments, “There’s really no words that can quantify how much that means to another parent just to be able to connect with someone who’s going through the exact same things you’re going through.”
Anyone can drop off donations from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Wednesday at The Single Parent Project’s office at 13024 S Redwood Rd in Riverton.
If you can’t make it but still want to help, you can arrange another time to meet them by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Donors can also purchase items off of their Amazon Wishlist.
They are also preparing for their annual gala that will be at The Little America Hotel this September to raise money for their mission of helping single parents.