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Megan Card, Published July 12 2012

United Way drive aims to outfit 4,550 students

FARGO – As students begin their back-to-school shopping, the United Way of Cass-Clay launched its annual school supply drive Thursday.

With the goal of reaching 4,550 Cass and Clay County students, the 14th annual drive aims to supply each student with a new backpack and a basic set of school supplies.

“Did you know that the largest public school districts in our metro area have a free and reduced lunch rate or poverty rate hovering at 30 percent consistently?” asked Louise Dardis, West Fargo assistant superintendent, at a news conference Thursday.

“If any of you have ever been in a store before school starts, and school shopping is occurring, you know the excitement and the pride of the students to be able to pick out their own supplies. This is no different for students in poverty,” she said.

The school supply drive will be held until Aug. 1 for donations of money or supplies. Supplies will be distributed to K-12 students in need who attend a school in Clay or Cass County.

To receive supplies, students must have a completed registration form and an ID for each child, said Kristina Hein, United Way’s marketing and brand management director.

Registration forms are available at United Way, www.unitedwaycassclay.org and on distribution days at the Fargodome, 1800 N. University Drive, Fargo.

Supplies will be distributed at the Fargodome Aug. 11 from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and Aug. 14 from 4 to 7:30 p.m.

Distribution days are the most rewarding part of the experience, said Kevin Spaulding, a four-year United Way volunteer and member of the school drive committee.

“That’s why I do it, because of the kids. For me, I never had to worry about it growing up,” he said. “The thought of kids not having what they need for that fresh start, it gets me.”

How to help the school supplies drive

The United Way of Cass-Clay is collecting school supplies, including new backpacks (no wheels), loose-leaf paper, pencils, highlighters, pencil pouches, glue bottles and sticks, 1-inch binders, notebooks, markers, colored pencils, scissors, folders, crayons, rulers and erasers.

You can donate at the following locations:

Financial donations can be made in person or by mail at United Way of Cass-Clay at 219 7th St. S., Fargo.

Volunteers are also needed to organize supplies and pack backpacks at the Fargodome on July 31-Aug.14, and during the two days of distribution. To volunteer, go online to unitedwaycassclay.org

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