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Free backpacks, school supplies available to Carlton County students

Organizers expect 200-300 children to receive backpacks filled with school supplies at the first annual Back to School BBQ and Backpacks event.

School supplies double border banner. Top view on a white backgr
School supplies double border banner. Top view on a white background with copy space. Back to school concept.
Jenifoto - stock.adobe.com
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CLOQUET — Several community organizations are joining forces to host the first-ever Carlton County Back to School BBQ and Backpacks event Saturday, Aug. 20.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Veteran's Memorial Park in Cloquet. In addition to picking up backpacks, families can also grab a free meal and learn more about local resources available to support students, Buhs said. The Fond du Lac Language Program will also host a story stroll in the park during the event. The book will be Cloquet author Liz Granholm's "Rabbit and Otter Go Sugarbushing."

United Way of Carlton County, Salvation Army, Walmart, local school districts and businesses decided to collaborate to distribute backpacks and school supplies for children in need, said Sarah Buhs, director of United Way of Carlton County.

"We kind of thought that it would be better if we combined all the local resources with all the local agencies that were doing a backpack program," Buhs said. "Kind of combine forces and have one big event."

Organizers expect 200-300 students to attend the event, Buhs said, and they hope the event makes it easier for families to find resources they need to support their children.

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"Right now with the cost of everything going up — food and gas and budgets are kind of tight right now — so (this is )helping families to get free school supplies for the kids so they’re ready to start their school year off right," Buhs said.

Families need to register their child to receive a backpack. Those who live in Carlton County and attend a Carlton County school can contact the Salvation Army at 218-879-5447 or 218-879-1693 to register. Representatives of the Salvation Army will ask for the age of the student who will receive the backpack, what grade they are in and what school they attend. Buhs said the organizations have supply lists from Carlton County schools and will make sure each child's backpack includes the supplies that match their school supply list.

For people who live in neighboring counties, but whose children attend school in Carlton County, contact the United Way at 218-879-8408 to register for a backpack. Those who call will also be asked to provide the child's age, grade and school they attend.

The deadline to register is Thursday, Aug. 18, but Buhs said the organizations will accept late registrations. Families who can't attend the event Saturday can make arrangements to pick up their child's backpack at another time.

More information is available on United Way of Carlton County's Facebook page.

IF YOU GO

What: Carlton County Back to School BBQ and Backpacks

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20

Where: Veteran's Memorial Park, Cloquet

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To register: Carlton County residents contact the Salvation Army at 218-879-5447 or 218-879-1693; people who live in a neighboring county, but whose children attend a Carlton County school should call United Way of Carlton County at 218-879-8408. Registration deadline is Thursday, Aug. 18, but late registrations will be accepted.

Jen Zettel-Vandenhouten is the regional editor for Duluth Media Group, overseeing the Cloquet Pine Journal and the Superior Telegram.
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