Representatives of Ascension Providence Rochester donate backpacks for a  previous Blast Off 2 School event.

Representatives of Ascension Providence Rochester donate backpacks for a previous Blast Off 2 School event.

Photo provided by the Rochester Area Neighborhood House


Donations for school supply drive collected through Aug. 7

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 21, 2020

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ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The Rochester Area Neighborhood House is hosting the Blast Off 2 School supply drive to provide school supplies, back-to-school clothing and over 400 backpacks to children in need.

Individuals, organizations and businesses can help by donating school supplies through Aug. 7.

“Last year, we provided pens, pencils, erasers, markers, loose-leaf binders, notebooks, rulers and backpacks to 488 students in need,” Kathy Losinski, the executive director of Neighborhood House, said in a statement. “This program has been life changing for many children.”

This year, the following items are especially needed, according to Neighborhood House officials: three-ring binders, pointed-tip scissors, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, colored pencils, highlighters, solid color pocket folders, dry erase markers, washable markers, spiral notebooks, binder dividers and more. For the full wish list, visit www.ranh.org/wish-list.

Michele Knoblauch, a volunteer coordinator for the Neighborhood House, said the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the economic struggles of many families.

“As our local schools are redesigning their educational programs for the coming school year, let’s make sure all children have the supplies they need to begin the school year,” she said in an email.

School supplies can be dropped off at Ram’s Horn, 1990 S. Rochester Road in Rochester Hills; the Rochester Hills Public Library, 500 Olde Towne Road in Rochester; the Rochester Fire Station, 277 E. Second St.; the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce, 3395 Auburn Road; Oakland Township Hall, 4393 Collins Road; and the Neighborhood House main office, 1720 S. Livernois Road.

The Blast Off 2 School event will be held Saturday, Aug. 15, at First Congregational Church. Eligible families must register by Aug. 3 and choose an appointment time to pick up their supplies from the curb.

The program is free for families with children ages 4-18 who qualify for Medicaid or free and reduced lunch programs, and who live within the Neighborhood House service area of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Oakland Township, Leonard and Addison Township.

Knoblauch said the nonprofit’s many volunteers — who sort through donated supplies and assemble packages to be picked up by grade level — help make the event a success each year. This year, she said, 100 volunteers are needed to sort and inventory school supplies, as well as pack grade-level bags.  

“The day of the event, the volunteers will support distributing the school supplies to the clients,” she said.

Neighborhood House provides rent and utility financial assistance, operates a food pantry and clothes closet, offers transportation services, provides counseling, facilitates educational programs for families in need, and more. Last year, Neighborhood House’s programs helped over 3,000 households on their path from financial crisis to self-sustainability.

To register for the event, visit www.ranh.org/get-help or call (248) 651-5836, ext. 21. To volunteer for the Neighborhood House, email volunteer@ranh.org or call (248) 651-5836, ext. 15.

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