There’s just one more month of summer left, which means back-to-school shopping has officially kicked off across the country. In the spirit of things, several local nonprofits are hosting back-to-school drives and events right here in town, so stop by one of these locations and donate your #2 pencils, crayons, and composition notebooks.
Through July 29, Friends of Foster Children Forever is partnering with Dunkin’ Donuts to collect school supplies for local foster children. Each year, the nonprofit distributes supplies and other needed items to over 300 children in the community. The four local Dunkin’ Donuts locations will accept donations during regular store hours, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Stop by, drop off your items, and pick up a donut or two on your way out.
For more information and the addresses of the four Dunkin’ Donuts locations, please contact Patricia Moskol at 954-483-6836.
For those living north of Naples, the 17th Annual Big Backpack Event is scheduled to hit the Harborside Event Center on July 31. The largest back-to-school outreach program in Lee County, this yearly festival-like event distributes free backpacks and school supplies to thousands of kids while providing other fun activities such as face painting, clowns, and live entertainment. Doors open at 10 a.m. and while admission is free, only the first 2,000 students (ages 5-12) will receive free supplies (parents or guardians must bring their children with in order to receive the free supplies). This year also features an inflatable obstacle course and the opportunity for students to receive eye exams, haircuts, and other giveaways courtesy of a variety of vendors at the event.
At The Shelter for Abused Women & Children, supporters can choose between donating school supplies, money, or ‘adopting’ a student and fulfilling his or her back-to-school needs (supplies or clothing) as part of their annual Give Back – Fill a Pack drive. The Shelter, which serves over several hundred children whose lives have been touched by domestic violence, will be collecting donations through August 1. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter’s Options Shoppe at 968 2nd Avenue North.
On Saturday, August 6, the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County is hosting a back-to-school supplies distribution booth at the Golden Gate Community Market, held weekly at the community center at 4701 Golden Gate Parkway. Local families are invited to stop by from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to pick up some free supplies.
“We’re bringing at least 100 bags of school supplies to give away,” explained Audra DiNanno, Development Coordinator at the club. “It’s a chance for us to reach out to the families in the community; you don’t have to be a club member to participate.”
Every year, Youth Haven also runs their own back-to-school drive designed to outfit the children they serve with clothing and supplies for the year. Backpacks are a common necessity, along with basic supplies such as pencils and crayons for the younger children and binders, notebooks, and calculators for the older teens.
“The children rotate in and out each year,” explained Meredith Chase, Special Events and Community Outreach Manager at Youth Haven. “We’re always in need of clothing and shoes, and since we have children ages 6-18 here, we usually recommend gift cards to Target, Wal-Mart and TJ Maxx so we can go shopping for specific children.”
Youth Haven’s back-to-school drive runs through August 12.
Common school supplies needed:
- Folders with prongs and pockets, three-ring binders
- Loose-leaf college-ruled and wide-ruled paper
- Composition notebooks, college-ruled and wide-ruled spiral notebooks
- #2 pencils, colored pencils, red and blue pens, Crayola crayons (24-count), highlighters, black Sharpies, dry-erase markers
- Large erasers, pencil sharpeners, pencil boxes and pouches, clear tape, glue sticks
- Index cards, Post-Its, protractors, rulers, scissors