ST. CLOUD -- It's almost back to school time, which means parents have to open their wallets. Unfortunately some can't afford to buy the basic supplies for their kids.

Catholic Charities is hoping to ease the stress of some parents with the help of their "Back to School Project" program. The agency collects donations all year round and in August they distribute the school supplies to families in need. Each year the program helps between two thousand to twenty five hundred kids with basic back to school items.

Rebecca David, WJON

Emergency Services Manager Kathryn Stolpman has been with the program for eleven years. She says the program was started because they recognized that if people are having difficulty with putting food on the table. The thought of having to find basic school supplies is likely an expense they can't handle as well.

"The program is designed with kids in mind. We do this so that kids are ready the first day of school to have a backpack, pens, pencils and paper so they can start the school year off on the right foot" says Stolpman

The agency accepts all  sorts of basic school supplies for grades K-12, but what they see go the fastest are backpacks, folders, notebooks, dry erase markers and colored pencils.

The reason the program still continues says Kathryn is because of the support of the people in the community and seeing the faces of the kids when they come to pick up the supplies.

"You can just tell especially the kids when they leave here many of them are wearing the backpacks already. You can sense they are getting excited about school being around the corner. It's just a whole different feel".

However, the agency is not the only one feeling the appreciation the families too are glad the program is around.


Client Letter, Trina Dietz
Client Letter, Trina Dietz

If you or your family are looking for some help in getting school supplies, Catholic Charities encourages you to come and Pre-register at emergency services. Once that's done families will be set up with a pickup time to get the supplies.

For anyone wanting to help, the agency is always accepting school supply donations, monetary funds and if you can't donate they are always looking for volunteers to help with distribution in August.

Supplies can be dropped off at Catholic Charities Emergency Services and for a look at the type of school supplies visit Catholic Charities

On behalf of Catholic Charities Kathryn would like to say thank you to the community and all the people who take the extra time to pick up school supplies to donate.