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Look out for two school supply drives in Becker County

Markers sit in a pile on a shelf. Markers, crayons, colored pencils, regular pencils and more are on the list of items needed. (Meagan Pittelko/Tribune)

Time to sharpen those pencils. The countdown has begun for school to start back up again--that means fresh boxes of crayons and picking out your favorite three ring binder.

For parents struggling to make ends meet, two school supply drives in Becker county are helping kids come to school prepared this fall.

They will be held on August 21 at the Historic Holmes Theatre and on August 22 at the Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership office.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.7 percent of people in Becker county are living on poverty wages, and the average household income is lagging behind the national average.

Affording backpacks, pencils, rulers, calculators and more can be tough for families in a tight financial spot.

Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership came together with the Salvation army 27 years ago to organize one of two school supply drives in the area, according to organizer Amber Goldammer, one of the board members started the Back to School Project in 1988.

She said that this is their third year doing it in the fashion of a two hour long drive, much like the school supply drive at the historic Holmes theatre in Detroit Lakes.

While supplies last, families can get what they need for kids grades K through 12.

Pre-registration was available until August 10, but walk-ins are welcome.

"We all chip in and work together to make it work," Goldammer said, adding that the Salvation Army was able to donate $8,500 for the cause this year from their army kettle campaign.

She said they served 289 students last year who were part of 111 families.

"We took on this project because we wanted it to continue," she said.

Distribution of supplies will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22 at the Mahube-Otwa office in Detroit Lakes.

For questions, you can call 218-847-1385.

The Detroit Lakes community is also working together to host its fifth annual Back-to-School Drive at the Holmes theatre on Tuesday, August 21 from 4 to 6 p.m.

This drive is almost entirely supported by local contributions brought to designated drop off points at local businesses up until the day of the drive.

Supplies needed include No. 2 pencils, glue sticks/bottles, markers, colored pencils, 24-count crayons, pencil pouches, 2-pocket folders, pens, scissors, 1" 3-ring binders, 3-hole loose leaf paper, wide & narrow ruled notebooks, composition notebooks, highlighters, erasers, pencil boxes, rulers, watercolor paints, and backpacks.

Cash or check donations are also accepted and can be made payable to Lakes Area Back to School Drive.

All of the above can be dropped off at any of the following locations: Midwest Bank, Anytime Fitness, Active Nutrition, Becker County Human Services, Central Market, and Frazee Family Foods until August 21.

For more information on the Back-to-School supply drive, call 218-847-5628, ext. 5419.