United Way of Southwest Minnesota is seeking school supply or hygiene product donations to help local children start the school year off right—can you help us Stuff the Bus? Donation barrels and boxes will be located at Shopko; Walmart; Marshall Area YMCA; Bremer Bank; McDonalds; SW/WC Service Cooperative—Market Street Mall; Hy-Vee; Lockwood Motors; Minnwest Bank Marshall; Dawson Drug & Gift; St. Stephen Lutheran Church—Marshall; Bank of the West—Ivanhoe, Marshall, and Minneota; Killowat Community Center—Granite Falls; Sanford Medical Center—Canby Campus; Fulda Public Library; Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative— Tyler; and the United Way of Southwest Minnesota office. Look for the marked collection containers starting July 3rd-7th. Collection containers will be in place through August 1. Additionally Lincoln County 4-H is collecting supplies at the Lincoln County Fair, July 27th – July 30th. Direct contributions (noted on the memo line for school supply purchase) can be sent to United Way of Southwest MN, P.O. Box 41, Marshall, MN 56258.

Donations are accepted year round for this project and help the United Way purchase necessary items in bulk at a low cost. The collected supplies and backpacks will be distributed to 25 participating schools within the United Way of Southwest Minnesota’s service area. School staff ensures the supplies reach those who really need some extra support. In 2016, approximately 4,100 students at 25 schools were helped through the initiative, and a record breaking 55,669 school supplies were distributed. The community need continues to grow for this valuable effort. Supplies will be sorted and packed on August 9th. Those in need of supplies should contact their respective school district beginning on August 14th for details regarding distribution.

This project is coordinated by United Way of Southwest Minnesota and includes all public, private and charter schools in the UWSWMN service area. Generous support from the community also makes this annual initiative successful. Multiple churches, organizations, businesses and employee groups collect supplies and financial donations. Special thanks to ADM who granted ADMCares funds. Partnerships with Marshall Radio, VAST! and Hy-Vee of Marshall help with both advertising Stuff the Bus and coordinating events to collect supplies. Hy-Vee of Marshall will be hosting a school supply collection event on July 22nd from 10:00-Noon. There will also be a Marshall Radio Share a Coke and a Song Event sponsored by Vast! on July 26th from 4:00-6:00p.m. in front of the Marshall National Guard Armory. Thank you to Southwest Coaches and Lynd Public School for furnishing buses to stuff at these collection events.

School supplies most needed this year include are backpacks and financial contributions. Other needed school supplies include: colored pencils, washable markers, disinfectant wipes, tissues, notebooks-college and wide ruled, pink erasers and eraser toppers. Please contact the United Way for more information at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org or 507-929-2273. Volunteers for sorting and packing can sign up online by clicking the Volunteer Tab on the UWSWMN website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.