Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Youth with new backpack from Salvation Army

Back-to-school supply drives, giveaways in MN, ND

Added on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It’s hard to believe, but back-to-school time has already arrived. Whether you need help, or are in a position to donate, The Salvation Army is your partner for helping kids start the school year right.

Ashley and her three kids received backpacks School supplies are an expense that many families in Minnesota and North Dakota are unable to pay. That includes a single mother named Ashley (pictured) in St. Cloud, Minn. She can’t afford the new backpacks, markers, pencils, and other supplies that her two daughters will need for kindergarten and second grade.

During any other year, Ashley’s mom would be able to chip in and help. “But, this year my mom is too strapped – she just had surgery,” said Ashley, whose kids are ages 7, 5 and 3.

Thankfully, The Salvation Army and its supporters have come through for Ashley. Her two daughters will enter elementary school with all of the supplies they need to be successful.

“I’m thankful for The Salvation Army and the people who’ve donated school supplies,” Ashley said. “Now we won’t have to struggle this year.”

Free backpacks, school supplies available

If you need backpacks and school supplies for your children, find your community below to see what help may be available.

Parents will need a photo ID, a piece of mail that verifies your address, and a form of identification for each child (medical card, school ID, social security card).

The following locations have scheduled back to school events:

Twin Cities

Come to one of the following Salvation Army sites to receive school supplies.

  • Brooklyn Park: Back to School Carnival, Saturday, Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., 10011 Noble Parkway. Free backpacks, school supplies (while supplies last), games and food available.
  • Eastside St. Paul: Friday, Sept. 8, 5 p.m.- 10 p.m., Back to School Bash. Karaoke/open mic night, taco and nacho bar, games, backpacks and back to school supplies available, while supplies last.
  • Maplewood: Monday, Aug. 1, 5:30- 8:30 p.m., 2080 Woodlyn Ave.  National Night Out celebration will include a backpack and school supplies giveaway, along with visits by police and firefighters. Enjoy free games, hotdogs, chips, cookies and juice.

Outstate Minnesota

  • Albert Lea: Thursday, Aug. 17 (registration and distribution) 9 p.m. – 5 p.m., 302 Court St.
  • Brainerd: Thursday, Aug. 17 (registration) and Friday, Aug. 18 (distribution) 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., 208 S. Fifth St.
  • Fairmont: Monday, Aug. 22 to Friday, Sept. 2 (registration), 114 E. Blue Earth Ave.
  • Hibbing: Thursday, Aug. 3, 1 p.m. – 3 pm. to Friday, Aug. 4, 1 – 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (registration) and Friday, Aug. 29, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (distribution), 107 W. Howard St.
  • Mankato: Monday, July 24 to Friday, Aug. 11 – or 700 students (registration) and Wednesday, Aug. 23, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (distribution), 700 S. Riverfront Drive.
  • Virginia: Tuesday, Aug. 29 and Thursday, Aug. 31 10 a.m. – Noon and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (registration and distribution), 507 12th Ave. W.

North Dakota

  • Grand Forks: Monday, Aug. 21, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (registration and distribution), 1600 University Ave.
  • Minot: Friday, Aug. 11, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (distribution), 315 Western Ave.
  • Williston:  School supplies are available through the food shelf while supplies last, 15 Main St.

If you have questions or don’t see your community listed above, enter your ZIP Code to find contact information for your local Salvation Army.


Donate school supplies

Help us equip kids with backpacks, pencils, erasers, pencil pouches, pens, colored pencils, highlighters, rulers, scissors, glue sticks, folders, notebooks, crayons, and markers.

Drop off donations at any Salvation Army Worship and Service Center in the Twin CitiesGreater Minnesota or North Dakota.

Shopko stores will also collect school supplies for The Salvation Army through Friday, Aug. 12. Find a Shopko store near you.

Financial donations

As every teacher and parent knows, school supplies are expensive. Many local families struggle to make ends meet, even without those extra costs. You can donate online to help provide back-to-school necessities for kids in your own community.