148 children in Schoolcraft receive free packed backpacks, school clothes

Courtesy photo Some of the school supplies that were packed into backpacks for students in Schoolcraft County are shown.

MANISTIQUE — Nearly 150 students in Schoolcraft County are going back to class with backpacks loaded with school supplies and school clothes, thanks to the volunteer efforts of employees at the local Michigan Department of Health and Human Services office, I [Heart] Manistique and other community members.

The volunteers served 148 elementary-school-aged students, with 136 of the children receiving backpacks full of school supplies when donations were distributed on Aug. 28.

“MDHHS employees on a daily basis see the needs that some families in Schoolcraft County experience,” said Shirley Young, family independence specialist for MDHHS in Schoolcraft County. “We know that a lack of school supplies and school clothes can be a barrier to children going to school, so we want to make sure they have what they need to make the school year a success.”

Nearly every backpack contained the following items: Pencils, pens, square and pencil top erasers, loose-leaf paper, two spiral notebooks, a composition notebook, scissors, glue, glue sticks, water bottles, lip balm, a box of tissues, anti-bacterial wipes; hand sanitizer, pencil boxes, bookmarks, Post-it notes, a box of markers, two boxes of crayons, a box of colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, rulers, file folders and a CD of “My Busy Day” tunes from Junior Jukebox. The average cost of the loaded back packs was $35.

Last school year had barely ended when MDHHS staff began their efforts in June. They partnered with I [Heart] Manistique, a local organization that works to gather supplies and new or gently used clothing for children.

Over the summer, MDHHS staff reached out to local businesses and organizations, looking for any kind of help to make the beginning of the school year easier for children in the area. Some put totes out to collect school supplies. Others had donation cans for monetary donations. Still others provided gift cards to purchase what was needed.

“The support we received was overwhelming,” Young said.

She said organizers want to thank the following organizations: Manistique Elks Lodge 632, Manistique Moose Lodge No. 1972, Hardees of Manistique, Bowman Gas Company in Gulliver, Petique in Manistique, State Savings Bank in Manistique and its employees; Limestone Federal Credit Union of Manistique and its employees, mBank of Manistique and employees, Manistique Federal Credit Union, and the First Baptist Church in Manistique, School Craft County MDHHS and I Manistique. The LMAS District Health Department donated approximately 30 backpacks with school supplies directly to [Heart] Manistique.

The group of volunteers is already looking forward to working on the loaded backpack project again during the 2019 summer vacation.

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