Donations are needed for a different kind of backpack program. The Banquet kicked off Project S.O.S. earlier this summer and a new chain of stores is getting involved.
Walgreens is the newest partner to help kids in need get school supplies.
This time of year, you start to see the Back To School Shopping signs come out in stores. Monday, a new sign for Project S.O.S. went up in Walgreens stores across Sioux Falls.
"They sell a lot of school supplies, and so if folks come here to buy their school supplies, we just ask that they buy a few extra items. And if they drop them right off here in the box, our volunteers will come over and pick them up and take them back to The Banquet, and make sure they get to kids in need," Madeline Shields, Special Events Director for The Banquet, said.
This year, The Banquet plans to pack about 6,800 backpacks full of supplies for kids in need from Head Start through high school. While it may sound like a lot, they're only scratching the surface of the need.
"Just the Sioux Falls Public School System, with their free and reduced lunches, they serve almost 9,000 children free and reduced lunch each year. We're not even giving 7,000 backpacks away," Shields said.
Volunteers will hand out the thousands of backpacks on August 16 at Whittier Middle School. And several others will go to kids who come to school late in the year.
The Project's mission is to make these kids feel equal to their peers while in the classroom.
"I've heard them say over the years, 'We're going to shop for our backpacks!' And that's the atmosphere that we want children to have. Because they need to be excited to go back to school. They need to have that self-esteem that they are going to have the same supplies that all the kids in the class are going to have. And they won't stick out because they came without supplies or without a backpack that's usable," Shields said.
The Banquet needs things like loose-leaf paper, single-subject spiral notebooks, black and blue pens, and middle and high school backpacks.
You can donate at Lewis Drug Stores, Hy-Vee, Shopko, K-Mart, Walmarts, Staples and Walgreens in Sioux Falls.
You can find more information on how to donate and how to receive supplies at The Banquet website.