KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As students return to school, more parents are struggling to buy everything that is needed to get them there. According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school supplies cost, on average, more than $800.

That’s why parents say events like the one Christ United Methodist Church on Sunday afternoon are helpful in this time of surging inflation and higher prices.

“Every little bit helps, I mean I think it’s great, even if it’s just a pencil and a piece of paper,” Whitney Copland, a parent in attendance said.

The church’s back to school bash gave parents a chance to get school supplies and even free haircuts. It’s an event they’ve been doing for eight years, but this year they saw even more of a need.

“This is our largest crowd since COVID started. We did have one last year. We had about 50 [kids], at this point we’ve had over 120 kids pass through,” said senior pastor Mark Kilborne.

Copland has four kids and agrees that inflation has added challenges when it comes to back-to-school shopping, so being able to have the church as a resource this year was even more beneficial, even though it’s an event she’s been to in the past.

“These two are about to go to preschool so it definitely helps out a lot, especially with the bigger kids too. It just helps out,” Copland said.

It’s all an effort Kilborne hopes will make things easier.

“Having been a parent a few years ago, this is something that’s needed, and inflation is only going to make it worse,” he said.

See more stories from WATE 6 reporter Veronica Ogbe

To make this event possible, Kilborne said he’s thankful to all of the volunteers and local businesses that helped bring everything together.