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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An unwelcomed assignment for families this year is navigating how to make ends meet with soaring prices for school supplies. For mom Damaris Andres, she’ll take any help she can get.

“I’m a mother of 10 kids. So, I have seven at home, still going to school. This helps out a lot, a lot,” Andres said.

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To help with costs, the School District of Philadelphia held its second annual “Back-to-school Bus Tour.” Their first stop? Northeast High School.

“Everything they need is right here. And I’ve learned that. That transportation is a barrier to care therefore that barrier is taken away because everything is right here for them,” Independence Blue Cross Foundation President Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake said.

From free COVID-19 tests to medical services and backpacks. Parents like Lorie White say they’re thankful they have access to these resources in one location.

“It was easy for us to get to here, and it’s just a big help,” White, a mother of two students, said. “In addition to what I will buy at Target or wherever. It’s just useful.”

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Backpacks were filled with pencils, notebooks and glue sticks. Organizers tell CBS3 that 4,000 bookbags were given to families.

“I have a notebook, pencils, and markers,” student Karlie White said.

“These kinds of resources just kind of help take some of the pressure off. Financial pressures,” School District of Philadelphia superintendent Dr. Tony Watlington said.

The bus will travel across Philly hosting 10 events and four mega-events until August 20. The next stop on the tour will be in South Philly on Aug. 10.

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Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says even wealthier families are penny-pinching

Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart.Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said even wealthier families are penny-pinching as inflation drives up the price of groceries.

In an interview on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Monday, the leader of the nation's largest grocer said sales in the fiscal second quarter got a lift from new customers and more frequent trips from households with an annual income of $100,000 or more. The retailer reported earnings and revenue expectations that beat expectations for the three-month period, after slashing its profit outlook last month.

"People are really price-focused now, regardless of income level" McMillon told CNBC's Courtney Reagan. "And the longer this lasts, the more that's going to be the case."

Inflation has soared at its fastest rate in decades. The prices consumers pay for goods and services was up 8.5% in July from a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Gas prices have declined recently, but grocery prices remain very elevated.

Food prices are up 10.9% over the past 12 months as of July. Many everyday items have jumped far higher, including egg prices that are up 38% and coffee prices that are up more than 20%.

McMillon said prices for food began ticking up late last year and that the company noticed changing shopping patterns for consumers even at higher income levels around mid-March. As people felt stretched by summer vacations or saved up for the back-to-school season, he said they started to buy less apparel and other discretionary merchandise — a dynamic the discounter expects will continue.

Plus, McMillon added, he is not sure that food prices have peaked. Yet he said "it's a conflicting period when you look across the data."

For instance, the retailer has had to cancel orders and mark down a lot of discretionary merchandise as people spend more on necessities. On the other hand, he said back-to-school supplies are selling well, as is low-priced men's flannel.


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