Free school supplies being offered to area kids in need - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Free school supplies being offered to area kids in need


Eau Claire (WQOW)- As families get ready for the new school year, there are many students who won't be shopping for supplies at the store.

A new school year comes with a price tag, a growing cost that some families just can't afford.

In Dunn County 'Operation Back to School' is underway. "We've got a lot of new families that we didn't have last year," says Jessica Stark of WestCAP, one of the organizers of the supply drive. The goal is to send hundreds of kids back to the classroom with the essentials they need. "Things that we always need every year are backpacks," continues Jessica, "Right now we're really short on pencils."

Over $10,000 in supplies have already been handed out in Chippewa Falls. "We do have some supplies left, we'll continue to give them out to Chippewa County families," says Mary Clay Santineau, Executive Director of Starting Points. The area non-profit has been gathering donations and passing out backpacks stuffed with back to school gear for 15 years. "Parents want to be able to provide for their kids," adds Mary, "And something has got to give. You know, if they spend the money on the extra supplies and the clothes then it has to come out of the budget somewhere else." 

An outreach group hit the ground running once they learned about the need at Roosevelt Elementary School in Eau Claire. "Approximately 46% of their students are enrolled in free or reduced lunch programs," recalls Cindy Hoenisch. "So that told us there are some underprivileged students out there that need some help." Through 'Project Backpack' members at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church have gathered dozens of supplies... They'll be given out during a night of free fun, food and even haircuts.  "Haircuts are just another thing that families have to spend money on besides the supplies, besides the new clothes. So it is a service that we thought we could provide," adds Lauri Rometti, another member of the outreach group. The event will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Wednesday August 15th at Good Shepherd, anyone in the Roosevelt Community is welcome to attend.

Over at Eau Claire's Boys and Girls Club more than 500 backpacks have been stuffed and will be shipped to local schools. "For both the Altoona and Eau Claire school districts we will actually be delivering backpacks to the schools and will let the schools distribute the backpacks to the families that need them," says Sara Antonson, Executive Director of the club. 

Here is a list of area agencies working to collect school supplies.

Chippewa County

Starting Points: School supplies available for families in need call 715-726-7937 for more information.

Valley Vineyard Church: A back to school giveaway will be held Sunday, August 26th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in at 910 Bridgewater Ave. in Chippewa Falls. Questions? Call 715-828-6479.

Dunn County

Operation Back to School provides school supplies for any family that qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Families need to apply by August 15th. Supplies will be given out August 23rd at the Dunn County Ice Arena. For more information contact the WestCAP offices at 715-235-4511.

Eau Claire County

Backpacks and supplies have been collected for needy students in the Altoona and Eau Claire school districts by the Chippewa Valley Boys and Girls Club. Contact your individual school for information on picking up needed supplies.

Project Backpack provides school supplies for children enrolled at Eau Claire's Roosevelt Elementary School. An event will be held Wednesday August, 15th at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Eau Claire. It will run from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and feature free school supplies, food, entertainment and haircuts. For more information call 715-834-2959.
















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