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United Way school supply assistance programs.

Operating across the United States, the United Way provides information to families and individuals in need. They are involved in setting up school supply assistance programs, help organize drives and establish fund raisers in local communities. The group will also provide students with other support as well. All of the information on the school supply programs, ranging from uniforms to shoes, clothes, and bookbags, is given out for free to anyone who is in need.

The United Way has some type of presence in almost every county across the nation. They partner with charities as well as other non-profits in the region to raise money and organize collection drives, including during the back to school supply season. The United Way also has millions of people that volunteer there throughout the year to help the less fortunate.

Back to school items are not provided directly by a local United Way office. Rather they direct families to assistance programs in their community. Then the parent needs to apply at those other non-profits, whether it is the Salvation Army or some other charity. There are also retailers, local town offices, and other groups that may also collect clothes and supplies then supply them to the needy.

This means the United Way is a source of information on free school supply drives that may be held in your town. Not only can they give details on those services, but the non-profit also provides other form of assistance in an emergency, ranging from details on USDA school lunch programs to financial aid and more.

School supply drive partners of the United Way

The United Way works with, and helps fund, literally thousands of charities across the nation. Each town, county, and community will have their own school supply assistance programs in place; no two communities usually offer the same support. They will establish drop off locations, help publicize the events, and support the charities in other ways.

The goal is to help students be successful in school. The children, no matter their age, should be equipped with the supplies they need for an upcoming school year. So if the student needs shoes, tablet or laptops, pens, pencils, bags, or anything, the United Way and its partners will try to collect these goods. They will then provide them for free to the public. But parents still need to apply and register on time with the local charities/non-profits that distribute the items.




Note that the local school supply giveaways could be called different names in different towns. They may be known as “Tool Drives”, “Stuff a Bus”, “Fill the Bag”, “Adopt-A-School”, “Operation School Bell” and many other names. Each United Way supported school supply assistance program could be called something else.

Low income parents with kids in elementary, middle, or high school can contact one or more of the agencies listed below in their town. Use the Search Box below as well to find other local resources. Type of terms such as “free school supplies”, “clothes”, along with your town and/or county. Even try adding in a charity, such as a Salvation Army center or local church. Those search terms will help families find a free giveaway in their local town.

One of the leading charities is the Salvation Army. This worldwide organization runs services in towns, counties, and cities across the nation. There may be bags of supplies given out for free. This may be composition books, backpacks, wide-ruled notebook paper, spiral books, colored as well as #2 pencils, pens, crayons, folders and glue sticks.

Free school supply drives may also be held by a few other national charities. They range from Assistance League to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, the Urban League, Volunteers of American, Love, Inc. , Lutheran Services, as well as community action agencies among others. Unfortunately there is no standard in place here; what is provided locally can change from one town to another. So this means one charity may hold an event in one town but not another. There are dozens of financial assistance programs from charities all across the nation.

Many retailers may also start back to school season shopping sales too. Or there are coupons that can help families save money on various school stuff their kids need. Not only can they help families pay for supplies, but even other things their child may need such as food, groceries, and more. Find details on how to get free stuff, including for school.





As any parent knows, the back to school shopping season can be very expensive. This is true no matter what the household’s income is or employment status. While any shopper should always be on the lookout for sales, coupons, and discounts, it is still a costly time of year. The United Way can help direct people to a free school supply drive in their town, which will help families of all income levels. As there are all sorts of resources located across this site.

By Jon McNamara

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