Two organizations and a coffee house are teaming up to help low-income families prepare for the first day of class.
"What better way than to come out in the rain and help kids get some school supplies," Mark Gillespie, co-owner of Kaladi's, said.
On a soggy Friday morning, Dolores Gauer huddles under an umbrella while dropping off a backpack at Kaladi's. The retired teacher knows just how critical new school supplies are on the first day of school.
"It is important because they don't feel any different than anyone else," Gauer said. "They have everything they need. They fit in. There is a big feeling of pride with that."
AARP is joining the coffee shop in gathering back-to-school supplies for Project SOS. Organizers plans to fill 6,800 backpacks next week.
"With school starting in less than two weeks, this whole community is in the final push to help kids," SD Director for AARP Sarah Jennings said.
"These kind of events, rain or shine, help us help those children in need," The Banquet's Madeline Shields said.
The project serves low-income families in the Sioux Falls area. The need is so great that year after year, the line outside Whittier Middle School reaches out the door and around the corner.
"These children come from hard-working families who are trying to make ends meet. Mom has a job; Dad has a job. With all of the costs associated with getting back to school, families find it very difficult to supply their children," Shields said.
Donations will be accepted until 7 o'clock Friday on the South Minnesota Avenue location. Donors will also receive a free cup of coffee from Kaladi's.