Running Start for School

backpacks. running start for school


Providing 3,000+ Local Students the Supplies to Succeed


Last year, United Way of Olmsted County delivered nearly 3,000 new backpacks packed with school supplies to local pre-K, elementary, middle, and high schools — and this year, the number has risen to over 3,250 students.

Thanks to generous community members like you who donated, hosted a collection, volunteered, or simply encouraged others to support the youngest members of our community, we were able to get supplies to every student in 2023.


Will you help us do it again this year?


Drive opens June 1!


This year, nearly 3,500 local students need new school supplies. As little as $8 can help.

Click below for information about getting school supplies for your child and volunteering with Running Start!


School supplies are distributed by individual schools. Olmsted County students in grades pre-K through 12 who would like school supplies through Running Start for School should connect with the school they attend to find out how to receive supplies.  

Participating Schools (Pre-K through Grade 12):

  • Byron Public Schools
  • Chatfield Public Schools
  • Dover-Eyota Public Schools
  • Pine Island Public Schools
  • Rochester Catholic Schools
  • Rochester Math and Science Academy
  • Rochester Middle School Right Fit
  • Rochester Online School
  • Rochester Public Schools
  • Rochester STEM Academy
  • Stewartville Public Schools

Each year, our program is successful thanks to the hard work of our volunteers!

Volunteer shifts will open to the public at the end of June and will take place from mid-July to mid-August. You can find them on our Get Connected volunteer portal page.


You can also volunteer virtually by hosting a team drive - see below!




2023 Running Start for School Drive Results

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backpack icon

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400+ Community members donated in 2023

2,900+ New backpacks full of supplies delivered to students

40+ Schools in Southeast Minnesota impacted



2024 Running Start for School Sponsors


Premier Sponsor ($10,000)

Scheels logo


Legacy Sponsor ($7,500)

Rochester Chevrolet


Champion Sponsor ($5,000)

Park Place Motors



Moving Sponsor
Television Sponsor
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Radio Sponsor

Townsquare Media





Contact Information


Sonja Sommerfeldt

Impact Program Coordinator