Last year, while distributing backpack and school supplies to more than 720 students, a couple of the students receiving their supplies touched my heart, and their stories remain with me almost a year later.
One of the individuals was a youth volunteer who came early to help us sort the supplies. He came so early, in fact, that it was just me and him setting up for the area for the other volunteers. For that hour we worked and talked, and he hinted that things at home were not easy. I shouldn't have been surprised on the day that we distributed supplies to look up and see him and his mom and his brother standing in line to receive their supplies.
I was surprised to see him though, and he gave me a sad little wave and brought tears to my eyes. When I went over he told me, remember what you said to the volunteers that were helping sort supplies. You said some families are struggling financially, and he said that is my family. Money is really tight right now, this really helps a lot.
As United Way prepares for this year's backpack and school supply drive, I encourage you to pick up a couple of needed items and bring them to one of the businesses that are collecting supplies for us or to organize a drive at your church, workplace or community group. Donations are being accepted July 29 to Aug. 9 at the following locations:
In Marshfield, at Associated Bank, BMO Harris Bank, Century 21 Reality, First Presbyterian Church, Heritage Bank, Marshfield Clinic, MACCI, Target, Westland Insurance as well as the United Way office.
In Loyal, donations may be dropped off at BMO Harris Bank, Citizen's Bank, St Anthony Catholic Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, Loyal Vet Clinic or Vita Plus.
Locations in Granton are Citizen's Bank and Grassland Vet.
Locations accepting donations in Greenwood are Forward Financial Bank, Grassland, Mayville's Market, Our Savior's Lutheran Church and St Mary's Catholic Church.
To find a list of needed school supplies, please visit the United Way website, www.marshfieldareaunitedway.org.
While this story has its own unique circumstances, it is not much different than many of the families that utilize the backpack and school supply program. Helping our local youths start out on the right foot at the beginning of the school year is a simple and easy way to help them stay on a path for success.