United Way of Brown County is working to help families get their kids’ backpacks filled for school.

School bells seem like a long way off, but United Way of Brown County is already working to help families get their kids’ backpacks filled for school. It takes a lot of money to fill a backpack and United Way knows that some families struggle to get this done.

Letters of invitation were sent out to almost 600 children, throughout Brown County, whose families qualify for the free lunch program. “Many families take advantage of this program and tell us how grateful they are to get these supplies,” said United Way Executive Director Donna Lambrecht. “We had such a great response last year from people who dropped off supplies at the many donation boxes we had placed throughout the county. We hope to see lots of donations again this year.”

Last year, the United Way collected 7,500 pencils, 1,300 spiral notebooks, 500 boxes of Kleenex, 300 highlighters and much more. The need is just as great this year.

Sleepy Eye’s donation boxes are located at SouthPoint Financial Credit Union, McCabe’s Ace Hardware and BIC Graphic. A list of suggested supplies is on each donation box, as well as at unitedwaybrowncountyarea.org). Only new, unused items are needed.

“If you want to help kids be excited to start school because they have a new backpack filled with supplies on their school’s list, consider putting crayons, markers, highlighters, hand sanitizer and much more in a donation box near you,” said Lambrecht. Monetary gifts can be sent to United Way Backpack Project, P.O. Box 476, New Ulm, MN 56073.

The deadline to drop off donations at the Sleepy Eye locations is July 26.