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WV Back-to-School Shopping Tab: $600

July 15, 2008

Charleston, WV - Back-to-school shoppers in West Virginia will spend around $600 per child this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That amount covers classroom supplies and clothing, and attorney Bruce Perrone with Legal Aid of West Virginia says that, with prices for everything rising so fast this year, the state's school clothing vouchers are more important than usual.

"People are making choices every day, juggling with the question of buying food, putting gas in the car, or buying new school clothes for their kids this year."

Families at or under the poverty level can apply for the help, a $200 voucher for each child. While some families using Food Stamps automatically receive the vouchers, others have to apply, and the deadline is July 31st.

Perrone says that in the past, many of the families who qualified haven't applied because they didn't realize they earn poverty-level wages.

"When you give it a dollar number it makes it more clear. The poverty level for a family of four is $1,767 a month, and that's a lot higher than most people realize."

People can apply for the vouchers at www.wvinroads.org

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - WV