United Way Supporters Gear Up to “Stuff the Bus”

United Way of 1000 Lakes is once again partnering with Target in Grand Rapids to “Stuff the Bus” for local students. For one week in August, community members will be able to drop off school supplies donations at a bus parked in Target’s parking lot, located at 2140 S Pokegama Avenue. Volunteers and Target staff will be on-site 3 – 7 p.m. August 8th – 12th, and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on August 13th and 14th.

Donated supplies will be packed by volunteers into grade-appropriate backpacks and distributed to students who live or attend school in United Way’s service area, which includes Bigfork, Bover/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 uwlakes.org/stuff-the-bus. Teachers can also request supplies for their classroom by emailing info@uwlakes.org or calling United Way at 218-999-7570.

Bringing supplies to the bus in August isn’t the only way to support the region-wide school supply drive, which annually equips preschool through high school students with the tools they need to learn. School supplies will also be collected at community dropbox sites throughout July and August, and donors can also elect to shop from an online wishlist or make a financial contribution by texting LAKES to 26989. Supporters are also invited to volunteer to pack backpacks at Klockow Brewing Company on August 18th. 

“Donating school supplies affects not only the student, but their whole family,” says United Way Executive Director Kim Brink Smith. “The cost of school supplies can add up, creating additional challenges for an already cost-burdened family. Having everything on a school supply list taken care of relieves this burden, and helps the student start school in the fall confident and ready to focus on learning.”

To learn more about United Way’s Stuff the Bus School Supplies Drive and how you can play your part, visit uwlakes.org/stuff-the-bus.

Schedule of Events

Donation Drop Off: August 8 – 12, 3 – 7 p.m.; August 13 – 14, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Target (2140 S Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids)

Backpack Packing Party: August 18, 3 – 7 p.m. | Klockow Brewing Company (36 SE 10th St, Grand Rapids)

How You Can Help

  • Collect supplies at your church, organization, civic group, or business. Call 218-999-7570 or visit volunteer.uwlakes.org to get started.

  • Donate new, unopened school supplies at Target August 8th – 14th or at a community dropbox site.

  • Shop online from a registry and have items shipped straight to United Way. .
  • Sponsor a virtual backpack by texting LAKES to 26989 and selecting “Stuff the Bus” from the dropdown menu.

  • Volunteer to operate donation drop-off or pack backpacks. Sign up at volunteer.uwlakes.org.

United Way of 1000 Lakes is proud to be part of the village working together to create a better future for Itasca area youth. Through targeted investments, strategic initiatives, and collaborations with community partners, United Way aims to ensure that learners receive the support they need to succeed at every step of their educational pathway. To learn more about United Way’s impact work, visit uwlakes.org/our-work.