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Project: SOS Readies For School Start

July 21, 2010, 5:08 PM by Kealey Bultena

Project: SOS Readies For School Start
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Students across KELOLAND will be back in the classroom in less than a month, but the back-to-school ritual of supply shopping isn't in everyone's budget. One local project supplies students for success every year.

School supply shopping ushers in another year of learning, but not everyone can afford the trip down the back-to-school aisle. That's where Project: SOS comes in.

"Last year, we gave 5,600 backpacks filled with school supplies, so this is a huge project," The Banquet's Madeline Shields said.  

That's up 18 percent from the year before.

"With this economy, we have seen more and more people come seeking school supplies for their children," Shields said. 

The Banquet is collecting as many backpacks, notebooks and crayons as possible for kids in Head Start all the way through high school.

"Anything that your children will need to go to school, that's what we ask. Even if you can just buy a few extra and throw them in the bin, we have volunteers that come and pick those school supplies up and they bring them to the Banquet for us," Shields said. 

That's where volunteers sort the supplies and make sure every student gets what he or she needs. It's the project's 23rd year of preparing local kids for their first day back in the classroom, and for everyone involved, it's a process that never gets old.

"It's like Christmas. It's like opening the biggest gift that you've ever had, and it's school supplies. The children are excited. The parents are excited. The families are excited, and they're so grateful to receive these supplies. They can walk into school with their heads held high knowing they have the same supplies as everyone else in the classroom," Shields said. 

Project: SOS is making a change this year. In the past, children who go to school outside of Sioux Falls could pick up their backpacks right at the Banquet. This year, all kids can pick up their supplies at Whittier Middle School on Saturday, August 14. The Banquet lists what your child needs to bring to receive school supplies on the Project: SOS website.

The Banquet's set up boxes at retailers all around Sioux Falls. You can find them at Hy-Vee, K-mart, Lewis, Shopko, Staples and Walmart. You can also volunteer to help pack backpacks. Just email Madeline Shields at The Banquet.

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