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Effort provides school supplies

United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties is teaming up with the Alexandria Jaycees to get more school supplies out to children in need.

The goal is to collect enough school supplies so all Douglas County youngsters have the tools necessary to succeed in the classroom.

This joint effort between the Jaycee's "Sharing Tree" and United Way's "Stuff the Bus" program should prove to be a great way to help even more kids who need school supplies and backpacks, according to United Way leaders.

The growing challenge of the economy has triggered an increasing number of families that need help with school supplies. The average student needs about $25 worth of supplies.

Items being collected include: number-2 pencils, colored pencils, pencil boxes, folders, pens/pencils, pencil top erasers, scissors, crayons, Crayola markers, highlighters, spiral notebooks, Mead composition books, dry erase markers, Elmer's glue, glue sticks, rulers, red pens, small pencil sharpeners and Kleenex.

The Sharing Tree/Stuff the Bus project began August 1 and runs through August 24. It will involve the local sharing tree located at Wal-Mart with drop boxes also available at many local businesses.

The Sharing Tree at Wal-Mart will be up until Sunday, August 18. Contributors may pick one or more of the tags off the tree, purchase the items listed and drop the supplies in the bin.

In addition, a school bus will be making many stops throughout the community collecting supplies the week of August 18-22.

Throughout the project, items can also be dropped off at any of the Alexandria area bank locations, as well as Elden's Food Fair, Pete's County Market and Wal-Mart.

During the week of August 18-24 a school bus will be positioned at Wal-Mart.

United Way leaders encourage residents to join the effort.

School supplies are available for those in need starting August 26. Contact United Way at (320) 763-4840 if your child needs school supplies or if you would like to volunteer with this project.

Another way to help is by making a monetary donation. Send a check to: Jingle Bells Foundation - Sharing Tree, P.O. Box 131, Alexandria, MN 56308. The Jaycees will purchase the school supplies on your behalf.

This information is provided through the efforts of the Community Impact Coalition. If you would like to know more about the work being done locally by the Community Impact Coalition, contact Jessica Boyer, United Way community impact director, at (320) 763-4840.