You can help make a child’s first day at school a lot more special by helping The First Day Project.

Over 25,000 kids receive free or reduced lunches, and therefore they qualify for free school supplies through the project, which relies on the generosity of locals in the community to help out.

The First Day Project used to partner with the Postal Service to collect the school supplies but three years ago they Postal Service stopped the program and United Way stepped in to help. “In the past, we worked mainly with our business community to collect the items but the need is too great this year with the uncertainty of kids being in school along with businesses not back in the office,” said Gwen Tombergs of the United Way. “Plus early learning centers are having to meet sanitizing standards they did not budget for so we are helping with that too. With this many supplies needed, we know we need to ask the community to help donate school supplies.”

On July 16, from 7am to 2pm, there will be a COVID-friendly, no contact drive-by school supply drive located at the Quad-City Times building on the 4th Street side in Davenport where their warehouse door is located. People can just pop their trunk and volunteers (wearing masks and gloves) will get the donation out of cars.

United Way Quad Cities is also asking businesses, employees and residents to participate in Stock the Schools by donating or hosting school and hygiene drives July 7 through July 15. 100% of donations will stay in our community and help kids in grades Pre-K to 12 at schools and early learning centers so they have the tools to be safe, learn and succeed in school.

The Quad Cities community can participate in a variety of ways:

  • Host a Drive – Host a school, hygiene and cleaning supply drive in the workplace or with a group July 7 – 15. ‘
  • Drop Off Supplies: ,Drop all your supplies off at our COVID-safe drive-up from 7am to 2pm on July 16. at Quad-City Times, 500 E 3rd Street, Davenport, IA
  • Virtual Drive – Rather participate virtually? Use our online school supply store to buy items of your choice to be delivered right to the school or give a cash contribution and we’ll do the shopping for you. As little as $30 will equip one student with a backpack and basic set of supplies.
  • Do Both! Virtual and In-Person Drive – Choose to host a collection drive and promote the virtual option at the same time!
  • WORDS MATTER. In addition to your drive, employees can write an encouraging note to students that will be delivered with your supplies. Download a special notecard to complete at https://www.unitedwayqc.org/stocktheschools.

Interested businesses and community groups can sign up to participate here by July 6 and receive a digital marketing tool kit to help your drive be successful.

For more information about United Way Quad Cities and Stock the Schools visit www.unitedwayqc.org/stocktheschools.

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Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.