Oh, how I remember the excitement of back-to-school shopping as a kid. I couldn't wait to get those new crayons and supplies. Then when my kids were younger, how excited they were when we'd load up on what they needed for the new school year. This year may begin a bit differently, but our kids still will need supplies, and for those not able to get what they need, there is help!

Sadly, many kids don't won't get the same experience with their families struggling to afford the needed materials to start the new school year and put food on the table at the same time.

So, there is help coming from a couple of fronts, the D.A. Blodgett St. John's Annual Backpack Drive, partnering with the Sydney Paige Foundation, and Heart of West Michigan United Way's Stuff the Bus program.

DABSJ

Both the D.A. Blodgett St. John's drive and the Stuff the Bus program are virtual this year. COVID-19 took care of the get-together's, so here is how you can help.

Alyssa Murphy fro DABSJ said, "We set up an online web page where people can donate, and then they basically make up the backpacks for us to put all the supplies in it."

They need about 100 backpacks for grades K through second, another hundred for grades three through five, and then about 200 for grades six through 12. CLICK HERE for the DABSJ drive.

United Way's Stuff the Bus drive is online as well. They launched the virtual collection drive using Roonga. You can shop for specific items like backpacks, folders, calculators, pencils, glue sticks, and much more. Or, you can make a financial contribution to Stuff the Bus, and The Volunteer Center will use your money to purchase supplies for students and teachers in bulk. CLICK HERE for Stuff the Bus.

There are around 800 kids in foster care in Kent County alone, and about 20,000 kids in Grand Rapids live in poverty. So clearly we all can see the need. DABSJ's drive ends July 27, and Stuff the Bus ends August 5.