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Cedar Rapids Nonprofit struggling to get supplies for annual back to school drive

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 8:07 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - An eastern Iowa nonprofit that helps get supplies for kids in foster care is back open after closing because of the novel coronavirus.

Now, Families Helping Families of Iowa is focusing on getting kids ready for school. However, the virus is causing challenges to its annual back-to-school fundraiser, instead holding it online to social distance.

Usually, the school drive is held at Hawkeye Downs. Kids can come in and pick out the supplies they want. Now, people will buy supplies online and the nonprofit will put together backpacks full of supplies for kids.

Leaders say donations are slower this year because a lot of the businesses they worked with in the past are struggling because of COVID-19.

Another reason why they are going online: they say its important kids are prepared for school whether it be in the classroom or at home.

“They need these supplies to be set up for success,” Melissa Carlson, executive director for Families Helping Families of Iowa, said. “That’s why we make this event a priority every year for the kids that we serve. So we can start the new school year out with everything they need.”

They also expect to be busier helping kids once the school year starts.

“The kids are home and they’re not at school or daycare or around the people who would normally enter that abuse,” Carlson said. “The children entering the foster care, those numbers have gone down. We expect, if and when the kids do go back to school, then more children than ever will be placed in foster care.”

People wanting to donate can visit their website.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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