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PNS Daily News - October 23, 2020 

President Trump and Joe Biden square off in their final debate; warnings that "dark days" of the pandemic are yet to come; and food assistance now available for some wildfire victims.

2020Talks - October 23, 2020 

The second and last presidential debate was much more controlled than the first; President Trump keeping to his main themes, calmly rebutted by Biden.

Back-to-School Shopping Worries, for Parents and Stores

August 8, 2007

Families will be lining up at stores for back-to-school shopping but many low-income parents will be hit hard by the costs, and merchants may not see the big boost they might expect. Some store owners have called for the return of the back-to-school sales tax holiday, which was cancelled a few years ago and Amy Weintraub with Covenant House in Charleston thinks that would be a good first step.

"It allowed families to have one weekend a year where they knew that they would save six percent on their total back-to-school costs. It would be terrific for low-income families to have that holiday available again."

She says the tax holiday is just part of the solution and that comprehensive poverty relief should be the long-term goal. She argues that people in some parts of the state have access to local help, including used clothing vouchers but those programs are few and far between, especially in rural areas.

Weintraub explains that there's some help available from the state, which gives some families a $200 voucher for school supplies but things like shoes, winter coats, and other necessities add up fast.

"When you're also trying to get school supplies together, technical supplies, in addition to clothes, the $200 just can't stretch very far."

Weintraub adds that Charleston-area religious leaders will hit the runway this weekend in an effort to draw attention to the back-to-school needs of low-income families, and bring in more donations to the Covenant House clothing closet.

"It's a fashion show with a twist. It's funny. We're inviting all the faith leaders in downtown Charleston to model clothes from our clothing closet."

That event is Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Columbia Gas Auditorium in Charleston.

Rob Ferrett/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WV