Twin Cities organization gives back to students

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Twin Cities volunteers want to make sure kids have what they need when school starts back up.

For the past 17 years, the Back 2 School Alliance has provided kids in low income families with school supplies.

“It feels like I can give back,” said Jane Hagglund, an 8-year volunteer. “And more especially, at the school party, to see the look on the little ones’ faces, it just, it makes it worth it; going home tired.”

Volunteers with the Back 2 School Alliance are stuffing back-packs with school supplies all week, preparing for a giveaway at the Grossinger Motors Arena.

Students in District 87 and Unit 5, who meet the federal requirements of being a low income family, can receive a back-pack at the giveaway.

“Anyone wanting to participate needs to check with their school office, and they will help you get signed up and give you all the details, and an invitation that you bring with you,” said Jan Meadows, the Back 2 School Event Organizer.

 There are back-backs full of supplies for K-8th grade, and some for high schoolers. The group will give them all away next Tuesday. This is the first year the Back 2 School Alliance can provide early literature activities for younger kids not going into kindergarten yet. That’s thanks to a grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

“We thought, a good opportunity to get some books in their hands and markers and some fun things to do,” said Meadows. ”So we’re excited to hand out those little bags too.”

If the kids meet all the requirements and get everything done before school starts, they’ll get to attend a Back 2 School party.

“We want them to have their immunizations and health examinations if they’re required by each grade level,” said Meadows. “They’re all different, so we know it takes awhile to get all that together. And in return for that, for you helping us out, getting off to a good start, we want to get you off to a good start.”

The alliance gets all of its supplies through donations and supply drives in the community.

“People do all sorts of things, and people do them on their own,” said Meadows. “We don’t even know they’re collecting and they show up at our back-door here and say, well we collected these in the office for you guys.”

1 out of every 3 children in the public school system are eligible for the back-pack giveaway in the community. That number has risen from 1 out of every 4 kids in years past. The back-pack giveaway is next Tuesday at Grossinger Motors Arena.

Back to school spending is expected to hit $83.6 billion dollars across the country. That’s according to the National Retail Federation. Families with K-12 students are expected to spend an average $687. Families with college students will spend an average of $969. Up $82.

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