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Andi Murphy, Published July 16 2010

United Way launches back-to-school drive

United Way of Cass-Clay kicked off its 12th annual school supply drive Thursday by launching the opening of community-wide drop-off sites until Aug. 18.

“We need the help of individuals and businesses to reach our goal this year,” said Thomas Hill, community impact associate with United Way of Cass-Clay.

United Way has a goal of collecting more than 4,500 backpacks filled with school supplies. That’s a 13 percent increase from last year’s 4,100.

Donations are being sought for new backpacks, markers, colored pencils, scissors, glue, highlighters, pencils and pencil pouches, notebooks, pens, 1-inch binders, folders, paper and crayons. United Way will also take cash donations, which will be used to purchase supplies.

Local businesses can also host their own school supply drive and take supplies to the Fargodome from Aug. 2-16.

Volunteers are also needed to pack bags for two weeks starting Aug. 2.

Backpacks will be distributed on:

“It helps individual children and our community,” said Louise Dardis, assistant superintendent for West Fargo Public Schools.

Students from 63 schools received backpacks last year.

An estimated 7,000 students in Cass and Clay counties receive federal free or reduced lunches, and more than 4,000 children and their families are living in poverty, according to a United Way information sheet.

“This means that all schools are dealing with issues of poverty,” Dardis said.

According to the United Way, some children come from families where books are a luxury and money is for survival. The loaded backpacks not only supply students with the things they need but also boost their confidence and eagerness for learning.

Dardis said when students are confident and eager to learn, it makes for a better work ethic, a better work force and ultimately a better community.

For more information about the school supply drive or to download the PDF application to receive supplies or to volunteer, go to unitedwaycassclay.org.

Applications to receive a bag can also be requested by calling United Way at (701) 237-5050. Interested volunteers can also contact Thomas Hill at that same number.

How to help

School supplies can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • Fargodome

  • Moorhead Center Mall

  • United Way of Cass-Clay

  • Walmart in Dilworth and Fargo

  • West Acres Shopping Center

  • First International Bank and Trust in Fargo

  • NorthStar Telecom Inc./Verizon Wireless

  • Fargo Curves locations at 1100 19th Ave. N.; 3051 25th St. S. Suite M; and 745 45th St. S. Suite D

    Readers can reach Forum reporter Andi Murphy at (701) 235-7311