Stuff the Bus Supports Local Students 

United Way of 1000 Lakes’ annual Stuff the Bus School Supplies Drive kicks off this month and continues throughout the month of August. The initiative calls on community members to play their part in preparing Itasca-area students to return to school in the fall.  

On August 8th (3 – 7 p.m.) and 10th (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.), community members can drop off highly-needed school supplies like headphones, 3-subject notebooks, and disinfecting wipes at a school bus parked in Target’s parking lot. Supplies can also be donated at a variety of community dropbox locations throughout the summer, including an in-store Stuff the Bus display at Walmart. A full list of locations can be found at School supply donations must be new and unopened. 

Following the Stuff the Bus event will be a Packing Party at Klockow Brewing Co. Between 4 and 6 p.m. on August 10th, volunteers will pack donated supplies into backpacks in accordance with school supply lists. Those looking to volunteer for a Stuff the Bus event can learn more and sign up for a shift on Bonfire, the Itasca area’s volunteer platform, at 

Backpacks full of school supplies will be distributed to students who live or attend school in United Way’s service area, which includes Bigfork, Coleraine, Deer River, Hill City, and Grand Rapids schools. Parents, teachers, youth support workers, and other caring adults can request backpacks, as well as personal care packages, online at Teachers can also request supplies for their classroom by emailing or calling United Way at 218-999-7570. Each backpack is packed with the specifications of the student’s age, gender expression, and grade level. 

Caring community members can also make a financial contribution to the drive by texting LAKES to 26989 and selecting “Stuff the Bus” from the dropdown menu. Supporters can learn more about the drive and find more ways to get involved, including shopping from online wishlists, at 

Needed School Supplies

  • Standard-size, age-appropriate backpacks for elementary, middle, and high school students 
  • 3-ring binders (black) 
  • 3- and 5-subject notebooks 
  • Blue pens 
  • Colored pencils
  • Disinfecting wipes 
  • Dry-erase Expo markers (black) 
  • Fine-tip colored markers 
  • Headphones 
  • Large tissue boxes 
  • Pencil boxes & bags 
  • Pint, quart, and gallon-sized Ziploc bags 
  • Plastic pocket folders (red, orange, blue, green, purple, and yellow preferred) 
  • Sharpies (black) 
  • TI-84 graphing calculators
  • Water bottles 
  • Wide-ruled, 3-hole punched looseleaf paper