Central Cass Treehouse helps parents deal with higher back-to-school expenses

The nonprofit hosted their second annual "free" back-to-school shopping event.

Free clothes on display as part of Central Cass Treehouse's back to school shopping event.
Mike McGurran / WDAY News
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FARGO — The summer months are flying by, and soon, kids in the area will be getting ready to go back to school next month. In a year where we've seen prices rise across the board due to inflation, back-to-school shopping can get expensive.

According to the National Retail Federation , the average household will pay around $860 on back-to-school expenses this year. That's nearly $70 more than in 2020.

"We know that inflation, and the current cost of products is much, much higher than we've even seen in previous years," said Heidi Domier, President of Central Cass Treehouse. "So we know that that's a large impact on families."

Central Cass Treehouse provides food, hygiene products, and clothing to students in need. They are in their second year of hosting a back-to-school shopping event at Central Cass Elementary School. Clothes, backpacks, and books are free to any and all in need.

"We just want kids to feel really excited and happy to go back to school, and have their basic needs met, not only here in Casselton, but beyond," Domier said.


Terri Harper, a Casselton grandmother raising three grandchildren off of nothing but social security, attended the event to get some back-to-school outfits. She said she's been worried about being able to afford new clothes for her grandchildren.

"That's a huge expense. With three grandbabies, that gets astronomical." Harper said. "I mean, you can't even buy shoes anymore."

She said with other costs rising, it's hard enough just to make sure everyone is fed.

"I don't make that much money," she said. "After bills, there's not that kind of money left."

Harper said without an event like this, and the good nature of some of her neighbors in Casselton running the event, she'd be in a tough spot.

"We wouldn't be able to have the nice things for our kids that we want all of our kids to have," Harper said.

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