Reading, PA- Amanda Aston knows how expensive it is to get students ready for class.

The Exeter Township woman is the mother of five children who will be heading back to school soon.

“It would have easily cost me more than $300 to get everything they needed if I hadn’t clipped coupons,” she said. “It’s a big expense for a lot of families. It gets expensive quickly.”

The National Retail Foundation estimates parents will spend more than $100 on average this year to outfit their children with the classroom supplies they will need for the start of the new school year. And that figure balloons when the cost of clothing, electronics and shoes are factored into the cost.

Kristin Eck, the executive assistant at Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs, said those expenses are an additional financial burden for some families.

To help start the school year on an even playing field, the organization teamed with Chick-fil-A at the Exeter Commons shopping center Wednesday to collect school supplies for underprivileged kids to succeed in school.

The collection of back-to-school supplies will be distributed to the eight clubhouses and six 21st century sites Olivet operates in Reading and Pottstown. Nearly 85 percent of the 3,000 kids Olivet serves live at or below the national poverty level.

“Being a nonprofit organization, our funding is limited so these kinds of events are a great way to make sure our kids have the supplies they need when they go back to school,” Eck said. “We’re hoping to give something to everyone we reach.”

Aston was trying to do her part to help. She dropped off a bag full of pens for the club.

“We donate items when we can,” she said. “It’s a good lesson to teach our kids to give back.”

There will be another opportunity for residents to contribute to the cause.

The Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs will be at Fairgrounds Square Mall on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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