Registration open for 11th School Supply Spectacular

CASS COUNTY — Registration is now open for the 11th annual School Supply Spectacular in Cass County.

The Spectacular takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15 from at Lewis Cass Intermediate District’s Brookside Learning Center, located at 61682 Dailey Road in Cassopolis, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 at Marcellus High School, located at 303 West Arbor St. E. in Marcellus.

The event, which is hosted by United Way of Southwest Michigan, allows families in need to pick up a backpack filled with school supplies according to what is recommended for a child at each grade level. Pre-registration, which can be done online at uswm.org, is required for participation and ends on Aug. 10.

“This is our first event since March,” said United Way of Southwest Michigan President Anna Murphy. “We’re excited to get the materials out to the kids that need them.”

According to United Way’s press release, the online registration form will ask for grade level and backpack color preference, among other information. Registrants will select a day, time and location to pick up their backpacks. Registrants will then receive a confirmation email and ticket that includes name, grade and color preference as well as their assigned one-hour time slot and location.

Families must arrive only during their assigned one-hour time slot at the pick-up location they selected during registration. Children must be present in order to receive a backpack and must be accompanied by an adult. This event is for students residing in or attending schools in Cass County only.

In addition to school supplies, a Feeding America of West Michigan Mobile Food Pantry set up a truck at the event to provide food and groceries to all families in need.

“Our top priority is to keep people safe,” Murphy said. “We’re trying to be as innovative as possible when it comes to coordinating around COVID-19 and distributing things of need to people.

While schools are still mapping out plans of action for the coming school year, Murphy does not believe that changes the fact that kids need the right tools and resources to be successful.

“Kids still need to learn,” Murphy said. “They need resources to learn. No matter what the school year looks like, we need all kids to have an opportunity for learning. These supplies will give these kids a level playing field. We need these kids to be ready no matter what the school year looks like.”

The United Way of Southwest Michigan has seen an increase in donation items needed for COVID-19 response. The only items still in demand are homemade masks. The organization no longer has set drop-off locations but will accept donations by appointment only. Anyone who wishes to donate can contact Amanda Drew at (269) 982-4038 or amanda.drew@uwsm.org to arrange a time to drop them off.

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