Officer Steve Sturm from the Minnetrista Police Department helped kids pick out backpacks.Click on the photo for more images from Ready-to-Learn.
Thanks to a generous community, Western Communities Action Network (WeCAN) distributed back packs and new school supplies to over 250 children this year. For many western Hennepin County families struggling with unemployment or the increasing costs of basic necessities like groceries and gas, back-to-school shopping puts significant stress on the household budget.
For over 20 years, WeCAN’s annual Ready-to-Learn program has helped to ensure that area kids are ready for the start of the new school year by collecting and distributing back packs and basic school supplies, individually packed for each child’s school and grade.
For two weeks prior to the August 20 distribution day, collection boxes were set up at churches and businesses throughout the community. A host of volunteers picked up the boxes, sorted the supplies, packed grade level bags and helped distribute the supplies at the annual event. Other organizations and neighborhoods conducted their own drives and donated volunteer time to help WeCAN get ready for the distribution.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our churches, businesses and individual contributors who ensure that local kids are ready to learn,” said Client Services Manager Lisa Floeter.
The event also relies on the help of nearly two dozen volunteers each year. “They do an amazing job of getting everything organized for a very busy day,” added Floeter.
In addition to receiving new school supplies, families were able to meet with officers from both the Orono and Minnetrista police departments, who helped kids pick out back packs, conducted car seat safety checks and provided an opportunity for kids to check out their police cars. Resource materials were also available for parents.
Families were grateful for the program. In a survey conducted the day of the distribution, one parent said: “Thank you so much for making sure my kids have all the supplies they need for a good start to the school year.”
WeCAN’s Ready-to-Learn program could not happen without the generosity of the community. We are so thankful for all of the donors and volunteers who contributed to this year's program.