There is a last-minute push to get thousands of backpacks ready for Saturday's distribution of Project SOS. It's down to the wire and donations are still needed.
There is a flurry of activity in the back room of The Banquet in downtown Sioux Falls, as volunteers sort donations for Project SOS. Retired teacher Kathrine Clark has been helping out for years.
"It feels good, it really does. Of course, right now we are so busy we don't have time to think about that. But yeah, it's a good feeling when you look back and reflect on it," Clark said.
As thousands of backpacks reach the ceiling, donations are still coming in. Health Source Chiropractic drops off last minute donations they've received by their clients.
"It's just one way that we can help the little ones in our community," Sheryl Clarey said.
There are collection boxes at nearly every major store in Sioux Falls, according to Madeline Shields, who herself is wheeling in 6,000 folders in a last minute push to get everything ready before Saturday. That's when an estimated 7,000 under-privileged children will get everything they need to start the school year off right.
"To have their own brand-new supplies, that's a wonderful thing. You should see some of these kids when they get their backpacks. Their eyes just shine, they light up, it's a wonderful thing," Clark said.
There are still a few things needed, including backpacks for older students going to middle and high school. And paper, lots of paper.
"Paper is really difficult for us to order. It's very expensive to order it. But stores put it on sale this time of year. It's cheaper for people to go into the store and buy it than what we could buy it at The Banquet," Shields said.
And as volunteers continue sorting everything from folders to rulers they say they couldn't help struggling families without the help of thousands of donations.