Running Start for School

Running Start for School

Helping Students Succeed

Running Start for School is a community-wide backpack and school supply drive to ensure every child is prepared to succeed in school. When students have the tools they need to succeed, they score better on tests, increase their attendance, and are more likely to graduate on time. This year over 8,400 students in Olmsted County may need our help with getting a backpack and school supplies for the 2017-2018 school year. Get involved by donating, hosting a collection, volunteering, and encouraging others to help our children and youth reach their potential in school and the community.

Our 2017 collection will begin on June 1. Check back soon for more information on how to donate or host your own collection.


There are three easy ways to make a donation to help students succeed. Check back soon for information on donating supplies for the 2017-2018 school year!

  • Purchase needed school supplies while you're shopping in our community and drop them off at United Way or one of our many collection partners.
  • Give a monetary donation online (Please include "Running Start for School" in the contribution note) or by mailing a check to United Way of Olmsted County, 903 West Center Street, Suite 100, Rochester, MN 55902
  • StoreVisit our online store and make a purchase.

Become a Collection Partner

Running Start for School Collection Partner

You can help students succeed by being a collection partner! United Way is happy to provide your business, organization, or group a collection bin for you to collect backpacks and school supplies.

Thank you to our - 2016 Collection Partners

  • Check back soon for information about registering as a 2017 collection partner.
  • Post and hand out our list of needed supplies
  • Use your own or pick up a collection bin and help us collect backpacks and school supplies between June 1-July 31, 2017
  • Share our website on Facebook and Twitter:
  • Email or call 507-287-2002 for more information or if you want to help


We need over 400 volunteers!

  • BusABC 6 News Stuff the Bus 
  • Donation inventory
  • School supply kit assembly

Champions and Collection Partners

Our champions, including Y-105 and Townsquare Media and all of our collection partners help make Running Start for School a successful collection by giving back to the community. Check out our 2016 CHAMPIONS!

How to Receive Free School Supplies

To receive free school supplies, your family must be eligible for free or reduced lunch. NEW THIS YEAR – school supplies will be distributed by individual school districts.  Click here for more information about free school supplies and how to find out how to get your Running Start school supplies!

Contact Information

Emily Johnston