Salvation Army, Fill A Backpack, Fill A Need work to ease financial burden of back-to-school shopping for families

Both The Salvation Army and United Way also accept donations to help the cause
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 11:50 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s a familiar scene this time of year at stores-- backpacks, new shoes and school supplies piled into shopping carts. But for one-third of families, back-to-school shopping is a financial burden. According to the National Retail Federation, those families say they’ll need to cut corners in other areas to find the money to purchase items for school.

Two area organizations are hoping to help parents ease the stress when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

The Salvation Army focuses on helping high schoolers on a case-by-case basis. If a parent or school employee calls the Salvation Army for help they work to find them the specific items they need. The Development Director of Wausau’s Salvation Army said it’s completely confidential and parents can reach out directly.

“We certainly want to make it a lot less stressful for families because we know that with the rise in costs, with food, gas, rent, everything, we understand that there doesn’t need to be added stress,” said Ann Chrudinsky, Development Director of the Salvation Army.

Meanwhile, Fill A Backpack, Fill A Need offers a program that helps kids in 4K through eighth grade who already qualify for free and reduced lunch. They help dozens of schools and organizations.

Districts receiving assistance include:

  • Abbotsford School District
  • Athens Elementary & Middle School
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Children’s Wisconsin – Wausau office
  • Colby School District
  • D.C. Everest Area Schools
  • Edgar School District
  • Faith Christian Academy
  • Hillcrest House – Keep Area Teens Safe (KATS)
  • Marathon School District
  • Marathon County Social Services
  • Mosinee School District
  • Rosholt School District
  • Newman Catholic Middle School
  • School District of Spencer
  • St. Anthony de Padua Catholic School (Athens)
  • St. John the Baptist Catholic School (Edgar)
  • St. Mary’s School (Marathon)
  • St. Mary’s Catholic School (Colby)
  • Stratford School District
  • Wausau School District
  • Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District (the schools are not in Marathon County, but children from Marathon County attend their schools)

The program is completely run by volunteers. This year, Fill a Backpack, Fill a Need will help around 3,800 children. Donations of new backpacks and school supplies are being accepted at J & D Tube Benders, 8951 Enterprise Way in Schofield.

People wanting to make a financial contribution can mail checks to:

Workplace Volunteer Council

PO Box 1384

Wausau, WI 54402-1384

Please make checks payable to WVC – FABFAN

If you’d like to assist the Salvation Army click here. Chrudinsky said since they are mostly helping high schoolers, donating cash is best because it allows the organizations to pick out specific supplies kids are in need of most.

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