Daily News file photo Donations and volunteers make backpacks available to community children each year.

Archived Story

Program provides school supplies

Published 10:12pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More than 1,000 Cass County students are expected to pick up a free backpack filled with school supplies next month through the United Way and Lewis Cass Intermediate School District’s back-to-school backpack program.

The program, which is its fourth year, takes place at two sites.

• 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at Brookside Learning Center, 61682 Dailey Rd., Cassopolis

• 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at Marcellus United Methodist Church, 197 W. Main St., Marcellus

Pam Swaim, 0-5 team coordinator for Lewis Cass ISD, said backpacks would be handed out on a first- come, first-served basis.

A total of 1,000 backpacks will be available at Brookside and 200 at Marcellus.

The program is geared toward families needing assistance in purchasing school supplies for their children this year, although no one will have to fill out a financial aid form to receive a backpack.

It serves the Cassopolis, Dowagiac, Edwardsburg and Marcellus school districts.

Free haircuts and dental screenings will be offered at both sites the day backpacks are handed out. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department will also be on hand to provide children’s identification kits, while the library will be there to hand out library cards. Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass will also be present.

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Swaim said volunteers are needed to help fill backpacks Aug. 17 at Brookside.

About $25 worth of supplies fills each backpack.

“It can provide substantial savings for families,” Swaim said.

Fundraisers are held throughout the year to support the program. Monetary donations can be sent by mail to the United Way at P.O. Box 807 Benton Harbor, MI, 49022. Mark the donations for the Cass County school supply program.

Primary sponsors for the program include Ed Lowe Foundation, Michigan Gateway Foundation, McLoughlin Family Foundation, Cass County Youth Council and several of those who have participated in the adopt-a-student program.

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