CALUMET - The New Beginnings Angel Mission Free Store has conducted its school supply backpack program for several years, and according to Terry Bazin, its popularity with parents and students hasn't waned.
Bazin, who along with Lynn Lanyon, is co-director of the store at 112 Fifth St. in Calumet, said the program involves giving new donated backpacks filled with new donated school supplies to students whose families may be facing financial difficulties.
"The backpack program is basically to help local kids and families with start-up costs for schools," she said.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Lynn Lanyon, co-director of The New Beginnings Angel Mission Free Store in Calumet, kneeling, places some school supplies Saturday in one of the backpacks the store will be giving away to local students for the upcoming school year. Looking on is co-director Terry Bazin. Donations of backpacks and supplies are still needed.
Lanyon said the need for the school supplies is great, and no questions about a family's financial situation are asked before a student receives a backpack.
"We try to ensure all kids K-12 (grades) have all the supplies they need," she said.
Bazin said requests for the backpacks has been growing since the program started.
"There's a lot of families with a lot of kids," she said.
Depending on the age of the student, the backpacks contain such items as glue, pencils, pens, crayons, paper and rulers.
Although the backpack program is aimed at K-12 students, Bazin said college students sometimes ask for assistance.
"They need them just as much as the little ones," she said.
Both backpacks and supplies are still needed, Bazin said. To donate drop by the store from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, or call 934-3602 or 370-9240.
Last year, Bazin said 181 backpacks were given away by the store. In order to get a backpack with supplies, students must register at the Free Store by Aug. 11.
"As we get the backpacks together, we'll have the families pick them up," she said.