The beginning of school brings with it back-to-school shopping. For many families in Manatee County — a school district with 65 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch — buying basic school supplies can be a challenge. Fortunately, several organizations have stepped up to collect and distribute essentials for back to school.
If you are interested in helping, here are a few options:
1. Gettel Toyota of Lakewood Ranch has partnered with Wal-Mart and the School District of Manatee County’s Title I department to provide supplies for children in need.
Supplies can be donated through Saturday at Gettel’s three Sarasota locations and three Bradenton locations, and the dealership has set up a gofundme page to collect funds split evenly between the Manatee and Sarasota education foundations. Gettel will match all donations raised on the gofundme page. For more information, visit the gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/ gettelbackpack2017, or email Ellen Walther at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gettel is also hosting an event to collect supplies from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday with 92.1 Suncoast Country at the Wal-Mart in Lakewood Ranch. Maverick and Lulu, the hosts of the 92.1 morning show, will be at the Wal-Mart from 10 a.m. to noon, and the goal is to fill three cars and one truck with school supplies.
2. The Family Network on Disabilities is collecting “non-traditional” school supplies for children with disabilities. The supplies will be distributed to Bashaw, Braden River and Palmetto elementary schools, Lincoln Memorial Middle School, and SABLE-the School of Academic Learning and Behavioral Excellence. People interested in donating can contact Mary Smith at 941-928-0682 or email email@example.com.
3. A consortium of non-profits are hosting a “Summer Bash” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Palmetto Youth Center and will be handing out backpacks and school supplies. If you are interested in donating, contact Tennille Moore at 941-962-8010.
4. The Bradenton Kiwanis Club is hosting “Christmas in August” from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday at LECOM Park. The annual event provides homeless children with backpacks, school supplies, medical, dental and vision services and haircuts. If you are interested in donating, Kiwanis has donation boxes in both Bradenton Chamber of Commerce offices and Lakewood Ranch, or call Bradenton Kiwanis development director Roland Emerton at 941-779-8786.
Saturday’s event is specifically for children in Manatee’s Project Heart program, and the services and supplies are only for children enrolled in that program.
5. Hudson Furniture in DeSoto Square mall is collecting backpacks and all types of school supplies through Aug. 8. Donors can drop off supplies at the store, and all donations collected will go to the School District of Manatee County.
6. Village Mystic and Mystic Minds in the Village of the Arts are collecting school supplies now through the end of August. All supplies are welcome, and the donations will be given to children attending G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School. 1017 12th Ave. W in Village of the Arts
The School District of Manatee County does not have an organized program for accepting donations for students in need, but district community engagement specialist Deborah Perry-Gambino, said the system is planning to implement a centralized program next year to meet the need.
Are you hosting an event but did not see your name listed? Contact us and we will add yours to the list.