Project SOS Needs Help


It won’t be long before school will be back in session, but unfortunately not all students and their families can afford to buy new school supplies.

That’s where you can help.  The Banquet in Sioux Falls collects items like notebooks, backpacks and pencils as part of Project SOS, but this year, it’s in desperate need of your help after losing two major retailers as sponsors. 

It’s sorting day at the Banquet.

Gloria Houle, who is just one of many longtime volunteers at the Banquet, enjoys helping with Project SOS.  

“It’s one of my very favorite volunteer days of the year,” Houle said. 

Each year, the Banquet hands out more than 6,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to needy families.

“Oh, the excitement of the kids.  People line up way earlier than they need to because it’s just an exciting event,” Houle said. 

But this year that excitement is being threatened by a lack of donations.  

“We lost our major backpack supplier that would provide about 3,000 backpacks at a very low cost, so we’ve been trying to make up that deficit with other retailers,” Special Events Coordinator Erika Lapour said. 

The Banquet still needs lots of the larger and more durable high school and middle school backpacks.  But that’s not all. They also need more notebooks. 

“The single subject in solid colors; particularly the wide rules, we typically need thousands of these.  We don’t purchase these, so we rely on donations completely for these,” Lapour said. 

That’s why they are putting out the call: if you can help, please do.  Because as these volunteers will tell you, the return on your investment is worth every penny. 

“And I guess when it gets emotional is when some parents are so grateful and thankful.  Then others it’s hard for them to come and say they need to come, but others are so excited and happy,” Houle said.

The Banquet is also going to need dozens of volunteers both August 17, which is packing day, and August 18, which is distribution day.  

To learn how you can either donate or volunteer, click here.

Find the latest Back To School stories on our special page online

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