What’s the cost of all those pencils, notebooks and college-ruled lined paper?  According to the July 2018 Huntington Bank Backpack Index, the average American family can expect to spend $637 to outfit an elementary school child with the necessary supplies. Middle school and high school kids are more expensive, costing $941 and $1,355 respectively.

Now consider the impact of a cancer diagnosis on a parent’s ability to buy every item on the required school supply list.  The non-medical costs of a cancer diagnosis can be financially devastating, even for families with health insurance.  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, “between 40 percent and 85 percent of cancer patients stop working during initial treatment, with absences ranging from 45 days to six months.”

During this period of time when a cancer patient is unable to work, The Mayday Foundation steps in and provides financial assistance to offset household expenses like rent, utilities, gas and groceries – and this month, school supplies.  It’s critical short-term help so vulnerable families don’t spiral further into financial toxicity.

To make a donation to our School Supply Drive, click here.  Donations will be accepted through Sunday, August 26. We’ll share stories of your impact on social media leading up to the first day of school. To make a general donation to support local families, click here.


The Mayday Foundation is a 501(c)(3) approved non-profit organization that supports families with a parent diagnosed with cancer while caring for children at home. The Mayday Foundation can provide immediate, practical help with expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, transportation costs, and other household expenses. For tax purposes, our EIN is 82-3914026.

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