A backpack can make all the difference

United Way of SW Minnesota

I remember my first day of kindergarten and my new pink backpack. Having that backpack on the first day brought me so much joy. I couldn’t wait to fill it with projects and papers to bring home. I can think back to my junior high years and I know I had a folder and notebook for each subject. Not having those supplies would have made it difficult for me to learn and feel prepared. This is why Stuff the Bus is so important. Our local students should be excited, prepared and organized for school … will you help us Stuff the Bus?

In 2018, nearly 4,000 local children (grades K-12) at 23 schools benefited from 67,003 school supplies that were distributed. Stuff the Bus is a United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) initiative that benefits public, private and charter school students in the UWSWMN service area. School staff ensures the supplies from the UWSWMN effort reach those who really need extra support within their district. If you or someone you know is in need of supplies, please reach out directly to your school after Aug.14.

School supplies most needed this year include backpacks, basic headphones and financial contributions. Other useful and needed supplies include: folders, colored pencils, markers, disinfectant wipes, tissues, pink erasers, eraser toppers, pens (blue/black/red), pencils, pencil boxes, highlighters, scissors and hygiene products. Direct contributions (noted on the memo line for school supply purchase) can be sent to United Way of Southwest MN, P.O. Box 41, Marshall, MN 56258 or made online at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org. Donations are accepted year round for this project and help us purchase necessary additional items in bulk at a low cost.

Generous support from the area also makes this annual initiative successful. Multiple churches, organizations, businesses and employee groups collect supplies and financial donations. Partnerships with Marshall Radio, VAST!, Southwest Coaches, truShrimp and Benson’s of Balaton and Hy-Vee help with both publicizing Stuff the Bus and coordinating events to collect supplies and/or financial contributions.

Community members are encouraged to pick up a few supplies and drop them in marked donation barrels or boxes to help the effort. Every folder, box of crayons or package of erasers makes a difference. Donation barrels and boxes are located at: Avera Thrift Store, Bank of the West, Bremer Bank, Elysian Chiropractic Center, First Lutheran Church, HyVee, Lockwood Motors, Marshall Area YMCA, Menards, Minnwest Bank, St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, UWSWMN and Walmart. There will also be collection containers at the following locations throughout our service area: Bank of the West — Ivanhoe & Minneota, Benson’s by the Lake — Balaton, First Security Bank — Hendricks, Hendricks Community Hospital, Jim’s Market — Slayton, Kilowatt Community Center — Granite Falls, Lyon-Lincoln Electric — Tyler, Sanford Canby Medical Center, Tim’s Food Pride — Dawson, Minnwest Bank –Tracy and Tracy Food Pride. Collection containers will be in place through Aug. 2.