School supplies needed

Back-to-school means backpacks need filling

Karrie Christensen and Mac McLeod with the Minot Area Homeless Coalition fill a backpack Monday. The coalition is one of the local agencies collecting and distributing school supplies for families.

Schools will be back in session soon, and local organizations are accepting donations to help families in need obtain the required supplies.

Sunrise Rotary Club, along with Town & Country Credit Union and the Minot Salvation Army, are conducting the annual Fill the Bus campaign to collect school supplies.

People can help fill the bus Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the credit union parking lot on 615 S. Broadway. Donations also can be dropped off today at the credit union.

As part of the event, Town & Country will be hosting its Back to School Party on its patio from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a free hot dog lunch, face painting, balloon animals, glitter tattoos and a superhero and princess meet n’ greet.

A variety of new school supplies are needed, particularly protractor/compass kits, backpacks, dry erase markers, Kleenex or similar brand tissues, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, pencil pouches, watercolor paints, college-ruled paper/notebooks, pocket folders in primary colors and mechanical pencils.

The Salvation Army has about 200 children signed up to receive the supplies, which will be given out Aug. 14 at Minot Municipal Auditorium.

The Salvation Army also will be conducting a coats for kids drive Sept. 5 to 28, with giveaways in October. More information on this event will be coming later.

Another place people can donate school supplies is the Minot Area Homeless Coalition at 105 1st Street SE. The entrance is at the back of the former YMCA/Sure ID building downtown. People can drop off supplies weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. but should first call 852-6300 to ensure staff are available.

For a number of years, the coalition has been serving families in an eight-county area who need assistance with school supplies. It fills the needs of applicants based on supply lists provided by their schools.

Executive Director Mac McLeod said the program last year gave away 145 backpacks filled with supplies just before school started, with another 20 to 30 given away after the start of school. The coalition assists school children in need anytime during the year. The agency estimates the average, filled backpack this year would cost a family about $70.

The coalition already has about 78 backpacks filled, thanks to individuals, businesses and other entities, including a Christmas in July event held by the Minot Sabre Dogs.

In greater need this year are the larger, young adult backpacks and spiral-bound index cards. Items such as flash drives or earphones have been requested for school use so the coalition accepts financial donations to assist in purchasing these items or other items for which supplies fall short. Donations can be sent to the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, P.O. Box 1062, Minot, ND 58702.

Military families can receive assistance through the Family Assistance Program at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 3420 2nd Street NE. The center is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Shoppers at the Dollar Tree stores in Minot have been invited to donate an extra dollar to the military program since July 5. For each donation, Dollar Tree contributes a school supply. Donations will continue to be accepted at the stores through Wednesday, but the Family Assistance Program already is giving away supplies.

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