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Olmsted County kids get a Running Start for School


The anticipation of the new school year is something that’s felt in the air as the summer comes to a close. For more than ten years, UWOC and Running Start for School have spent the summer engaging the Olmsted County community in collecting school supplies, mobilizing volunteers to participate in collection events, inventorying supplies, and assembling backpacks for Olmsted County students. The goal is to ensure students in our county have the tools they need to start school ready to learn. “We’ve worked with kids that get so excited over the smell of new crayons,” says Melissa Brandt, Transitions and Fostering Connections Coordinator at Rochester Public Schools and longtime partner with Running Start.

Every year, nearly 2,000 students in Olmsted County are provided backpacks filled with new supplies to start the school year off right. Across the county, 35 schools participate in the program, so students can receive a backpack at their school. Without this program, many students would show up to class not fully equipped with the tools to learn. Thanks to donors like you, families do not need to make the hard choice of what to give up in order to afford new school supplies for their children. In 2018, over 65,000 individual school supplies were donated to the United Way’s Running Start for School program by community members just like you. Stopping by Target or Walmart to pick up a few notebooks, folders, and a backpack may not seem like a significant act, but it goes a long way for students in your community. You can drop off supplies at more than a dozen local businesses or you can purchase a pre-packaged backpack full of needed supplies online in the comfort of your own home.

United, we fight to ensure all students are ready to succeed in school. Help make sure that new school year anticipation feels more like excitement, not anxiety over showing up to classes unprepared. Providing school supplies for over 2,000 students each year is quite the feat, and our students could use your help. Our supply collection season for the 2019-2020 school year closes on July 29th, and information on how to donate or volunteer can be found here:

We would like to show our appreciation and send thanks to MinnWest Bank for being the presenting sponsor of Running Start for School 2019.