116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS -- Families Helping Families of Iowa is collecting school supplies to give to children in foster care or adopted from foster care before the first day of school next month.
The nonprofit organization that helps and supports children in foster care is collecting school supplies for about 750 children until Aug. 5. Supplies can be dropped off or shipped to Families Helping Families at 6000 Seventh St. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.
The supplies will be distributed at the Families Helping Families of Iowa’s Back to School Rally from noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 13 at Hawkeye Downs Expo Center, 4400 Sixth St. SW in Cedar Rapids.
Children will get to choose from a selection of new backpacks that they can fill with pencils, notebooks, crayons, headphones, glue and more.
This is the first year since the pandemic started in 2020 that Families Helping Families of Iowa has been able to host an in-person event for children to choose their own school supplies.
In previous years, backpacks have been “prepackaged” by volunteers, said Melissa Carlson, executive director of Families Helping Families of Iowa.
Children being able to choose their own school supplies is part of a “normal childhood experience,” Carlson said. “We want to make sure they have good clothes, good shoes and a backpack -- things they can go to school and be proud of and not stick out. Kids in foster care already feel different,” she said.
Families Helping Families of Iowa is asking for donations of backpacks with no wheels, colored pencils, Crayola Crayons, ear bud headphones and over-the-ear headphones, Elmer’s glue bottles and glue sticks, scientific calculators, scissors and pencil boxes or zippered pouches.
A full list of supply needs and links to online shopping lists can be found at familieshelpingfamiliesofiowa.org/upcoming-events.
Carlson said they usually have plenty of the smaller items like crayons and glue sticks, but often lack larger items like ear bud headphones, which children need to use in their classrooms, and binders. Children also prefer brand-name items, she said.
“Most kids are not going to reach in and grab an off-brand if there’s a Crayola,” Carlson said.
Financial donations to help purchase supplies are also being accepted.
Volunteers also are needed to help at the event on Aug. 13, and to prepackage about 100 backpacks that will be sent to children who can’t attend the in-person event. On the day of the event, volunteers are needed to help serve food at concession stands, manage the bounce house, dunk tank and registration and oversee the distribution of school supplies.
For more information, email Families Helping Families of Iowa at email@example.com or call (319) 294-9706.
Comments: (319) 398-8411; firstname.lastname@example.org