The Champaign County Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS) will provide school clothing vouchers for children of eligible families next month.
Martha Bacon, business administrator for the local DJFS, said the initiative is part of the county’s Prevention, Retention and Contingency (PRC) plan aimed at benefiting low-income families. Because the county’s PRC plan does not provide for back-to-school clothing on a regular basis, Champaign County commissioners approved an amendment to the plan on Tuesday.
Bacon said the department has provided similar vouchers twice before with the last time being in 2011. The department had leftover Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds allowing for the initiative to be held this year.
The $175 vouchers will be for use at the Urbana Wal-Mart for Champaign County children ages 5 through 18.
Bacon estimates between 1,500 and 2,000 vouchers are expected to be provided, meaning anywhere between $262,500 $350,000 would go toward school clothing.
Bacon said the department is happy to be able to provide clothing for children and alleviate stress for parents before the start of the school year.
“It’s a very stressful time when you’re trying to decide about putting food on the table or making a car repair and having to choose between buying school clothes,” Bacon said. “The kids get by in the summer with what you’ve got and I think when the summer ends and when the fall starts it’s always nice to start school with a couple of new things.”
Applications for the vouchers will be available at the department’s office, 1512 S. U.S. Route 68, and at the Caring Kitchen, 300 Miami St., from July 27 through 31. Completed applications will be accepted Aug. 3 through 7 and the vouchers will be available between Aug. 17 and 21.
Each applicant must meet all PRC requirements including being a recipient of public assistance or having a family income below 200 percent of poverty.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.