A plan that originated at Vincent United Methodist Church in Minot as a way to help the congregation's school-age youth who were affected by flooding turned into an areawide backpack distribution with the help of Methodist churches throughout the Dakotas.
Vincent is giving an estimated 1,100 backpacks to area school students. The church donated 30 backpacks to Burlington-Des Lacs Elementary School at the start of school last week and delivered close to 100 backpacks to Sawyer and Velva this past week. Head Start received another 50 backpacks, and 10 went to Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood. The church is working with Nedrose, South Prairie, Minot Catholic Schools and Minot Public Schools on further distributions.
The backpacks contain basic school supplies, including notebooks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, Crayons, scissors, erasers and rulers.
Sawyer kindergartener Aaron Blumhagen, second-grader Brooke Larson, fourth-grader Audry Mahoney and third-grader Cole Harris display some of the backpacks donated to their school Wednesday by United Methodist congregations of the Dakotas.
Sawyer students help carry donated backpacks into the school for distribution in the elementary grades Wednesday.
The backpacks were gifts from United Methodist churches across North Dakota and South Dakota, said Doreen Clock of Vincent United. A Rapid City resident who came to Minot to help a family member gut a house showed up at the church with 50 backpacks from that community, she said.
"It's amazing. It's a blessing," she said.
Vincent also provided filled backpacks to displaced students in elementary through high school from Vincent, Faith and Des Lacs United Methodist churches based on their schools' supply lists. Monetary donations to the program enabled the church to provide Burlington, Minot Public and Minot Catholic schools with cases of facial tissue.