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BCUW again heading drive for backpacks with school supplies for Barry County students

With school just around the corner and the list of needed school supplies weighing on families, Barry County United Way (BCUW) has once again partnered with many in the community to address the need by giving away backpacks filled with school supplies.


"Each year we see an increase in the number of families that need assistance purchasing school supplies so we are very thankful that Hastings City Bank and so many others are partnering with us on this project.  This program will allow families to focus on their basic needs instead of how to include this added expense in their monthly budget,”  BCUW Executive Director Lani Forbes said.


Distribution will take place the week of Aug. 21 to children living in homes at 200 percent of the poverty level or below. Those interested in receiving a backpack can determine eligibility by calling the BCUW at 269-945-4010.  Once eligibility is determined, a time will be scheduled for the child to “shop” for their supplies.


Those who wish to contribute school supplies are invited to drop them off at any Hastings City Bank branch in Bellevue, Caledonia, Hastings, Marshall, Middleville, Nashville and Wayland. Items may also be dropped off at Thornapple Credit Union, Walker, Fluke and Sheldon, Barry County United Way, Welcome Corners Church and Grace Lutheran Church this year.//


The lower level at Hastings City Bank will provide backpacks to Barry County children in Kindergarten to 12th grade who need additional support for the coming school year. Grace Lutheran Church will be providing the supplies and backpacks for Pre-K and Young 5’s.  “We are looking forward to providing our assistance to the youngest of those starting their education experience,” Pastor Paul Kuhlman said.


In addition to new backpacks without wheels, items needed for each backpack include:


Middle / High School Level                           Elementary School Level

5 – notebooks                                                 scissors

5 – pocket folders                                           pencils

calculators                                                      pencil box

pencils                                                            colored pencils

colored pencils                                               washable markers

colored markers                                              glue sticks

highlighters                                                      hand sanitizer

1" three ring binders                                       construction paper

dry erase markers and erasers                       

lined paper for three ring binder                       ruler

index cards                                                       crayons

pens                                                                  pencil sharpener with lid



computer mouse



Pre K and Young 5’s

a box of pencils                                              12-16 color crayons

highlighters (1-2)                                             2 glue sticks

pencil top erasers                                           2 cardboard pocket folder

2 dry erase markers                                        blunt tipped scissors

tissue boxes                                                    pencil box

water bottle                                                     hand sanitizer


Last year, 408 children received school supplies and a backpack.  “We are thankful for those in our community that choose to partner with us as well,” said Nancy Goodin, marketing director at Hastings City Bank. “Our employees are really excited about helping with this special project and we hope our friends and customers will join us in this project, as well,” she said.


“One of my favorite parts of this program is that the children get choices – they choose which backpack, pencil box, scissors, notebooks, etc.  It gives them a sense of ownership and they feel good heading off to school with their choice of school supplies,” she said.

Those with questions are asked to call the BCUW at 269-945-4010.



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