July - August

Education is the key to unlocking a student's potential and achieving financial success. Nevertheless, the cost of buying school supplies can be a significant burden for local families, especially as they struggle with inflation and increased cost of living. United Ways' work touches on all phases of a student's educational journey – from advocating for quality early education and fostering academic outcomes to promoting a stable and nurturing home environment.

Request School Supplies

The annual School Supply Drive makes it possible for United Way to provide backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies to students who live or attend school in United Way of 1000 Lakes’ service area, which includes Itasca County and the surrounding communities of Hill City, Bena, and the Leech Lake Reservation.

Do you know a student who needs school supplies? Teachers, youth advocates, parents, and other caring adults can request a backpack filled with supplies for students they know.

Request Supplies

If you have requested a backpack, you will be contacted by email or phone when it is available for pickup at the United Way of 1000 Lakes office (350 NW 1st Ave., Suite A, Grand Rapids, MN).

Teachers in need of classroom supplies can also make a request by emailing info@uwlakes.org.

Those with students who reside outside of United Way of 1000 Lakes’ service area should call 211, visit 211unitedway.org, or contact their local United Way to learn more about finding school supplies and other educational resources in their region.

Dropbox Sites & Company Drives:

School supplies can be dropped off at United Way or at a dropbox location in our service area. Curbside drop-off is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For curbside pickup, call 999-7570 and we’ll come outside to pick up your items. Or, come inside to deliver items to our office.

2022 Dropbox Locations include:

Coldwell Banker Northwoods (812 S Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids)

Grand Rapids Orthodontics (615 NE 4th St, Grand Rapids)

Grand Rapids United Methodist Church (1701 SE 5th Ave, Grand Rapids)

Itasca County Family YMCA (400 River Rd, Grand Rapids)

Itasca County DFL (809 NE 4th St, Grand Rapids)

Kiesler Wellness Center (3130 SE 2nd Ave, Grand Rapids)

Klockow Brewing Company (36 SE 10th St, Grand Rapids)

KOOTASCA (Central Square Mall: 201 NW 4th St, Suite 130, Grand Rapids)

St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church (501 16th St NW, Grand Rapids)

Target (2140 S Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids)

Woodland Bank (Hill City) (675 Highway 169 S, Hill City)

Zion Lutheran Church (2901 S Highway 169, Grand Rapids)


2022 Company Drives include:

ASV Holdings, Inc. (840 Lily Ln, Grand Rapids)

Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI) (Cohasset and Grand Rapids facilities)

Minnesota Power (Boswell Energy Center and Rapids Energy Center)

Schedule of Events

You can purchase and/or drop off supplies at these community events:

Stuff the Bus

Help Stuff the Bus August 8th – 14th at Target in Grand Rapids. Target staff and community volunteers of all ages will be accepting donations of school and health supplies for local children.

August 8th – 12th, 3 to 7 p.m.
Target (2140 S Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids)

August 13th – 14th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Target (2140 S Pokegama Ave, Grand Rapids)

July – September 1st, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
United Way of 1000 Lakes (350 NW 1st Ave, Suite A, Grand Rapids)


Grand Rapids Area Chamber Luncheon

Members are encouraged to lend their support by bringing new school supplies and backpacks to the August luncheon. Stuff the Bus kits will also be available for businesses who wish to host a drive.

August 8th, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Timberlake Lodge (144 SE 17th St, Grand Rapids)

Backpack Packing Party

Supporters are also invited to help count, sort, and stuff backpacks full of supplies to gift to students in schools across United Way’s service area.

August 18th, 3 to 7 p.m.
Klockow Brewing Company (36 SE 10th St, Grand Rapids)

sign up

What is Stuff the Bus?

United Way of 1000 Lakes’ Stuff the Bus drive seeks to provide students from low-income families with new school supplies, preparing them for their academic studies, building their self-esteem, and setting them up for success.
We need your help collecting the supplies these young children require to excel in their studies.

By participating in Stuff the Bus, you’re doing more than collecting supplies; you’re ensuring that our most at-risk families have everything they need to start the school year off ready to learn.

Learn how to get involved and view our school supply wish list tab.

Ways to Get Involved


Churches, organizations, civic groups, or businesses can host a traditional supply drive where you collect physical supplies or a virtual drive where you collect monetary donations. Donations will be used to purchase supplies for the event. You must register both physical and virtual supply drives at volunteer.uwlakes.org. 

Once you have registered your Supply Drive, United Way staff will reach out with further instructions and a Stuff the Bus Kit. Other resources and marketing materials are available in the Media Center to ensure your drive is successful.

Supplies can be brought to the Stuff the Bus or Packing Party events or delivered to United Way of 1000 Lakes by September 1st.



You can also make a credit card donation in any amount by click the “Donate Now” button below and selecting “Stuff the Bus” from the dropdown menu. Monetary donations will be used to buy more supplies.

Donate Now


Anyone can help! Support a student (or several) by purchasing supply kits directly from our online registry and having items shipped to United Way.



Volunteer to help us “Stuff the Bus” at Target in Grand Rapids August 8 – 12 or the Backpack Packing Party on August 18 at Klockow Brewing Co.


Stuff the Bus Media Center

Bulletin Insert
Posters  Letter Size  |  11×17  |  12 x 18
Dropbox Signage 11×17
Graphics: Facebook  |  Instagram
Social Media Toolkit

Our Work in Education

Education is a cornerstone for success in school, work, and life. Setting kids on the path to success begins with early intervention, and then, through high-quality education, students can graduate high school prepared for college & career.

Learn More