Getting back to school looks anything but ordinary for Milwaukee families this year. Milwaukee Public Schools students are starting the year virtually, and many neighborhood private and charter schools are going the same route.
No matter what your school’s reopening plan looks like, there are still affordable ways for families to find supplies for this year–– and opportunities for anyone to help students prepare, too.
Here’s a list of resource events to get your family ready for the year:
1. Back-to-school event for Native youth: Thursday, Aug. 20
The Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center and the Milwaukee Indian Education Committee will host a drive-through school supply fair from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20 in the center’s north parking lot, 930 W. Historic Mitchell St. To pick up supplies, parents must have their Tribal ID and proof of their child’s grade and school such as report cards, class schedules or enrollment letters. For more information, families can contact Alicia Terry, the community support specialist, at (414) 316-5051.
2. Fuller Collegiate Academy hosts giveaway: Saturday, Aug. 22
Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy, 4030 N. 29th St., will host a back-to-school giveaway from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22. The event will connect students in kindergarten through eighth grade with book bags and school supplies. Students of all ages can grab haircut vouchers from Gee’s Clippers, fresh produce from Pete’s Fruit Market and health education resources from other sponsors.
3. Brunch of Books 2020: Register by Monday, Aug. 31
The Black Child Development Institute will once again host Brunch of Books – and this year it’s gone virtual. Families can register for the Zoom event by Monday, Aug. 31 to receive their book box Friday, Sept. 4 or Saturday, Sept. 5. On Sunday, Sept. 6. Lisa Goodman will read the featured books as children and guardians follow along at home. See here for more information.
4. Discussion on kids’ mental health: Friday, Aug. 21
As children head back to school in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Children’s Wisconsin will host a live Q&A session from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21. The discussion will focus on children’s mental health and behavioral health and feature Children’s Wisconsin colleagues Dr. Jenny Walczak, the clinical director of mental and behavioral health, and Shanna Sullivan, the child and family counseling training supervisor.
MPS families looking to access a Wi-Fi Hotspot to complete virtual learning this fall can fill out this form. Once families have completed the form, staff from the MPS Library Department will reach out to schedule time to pick up the hotspot.
Looking to help? Here’s where you can donate school supplies for Milwaukee families:
1. House of Peace back-to-school drive: Donations accepted until Friday, Aug. 21
Capuchin Community Services is gathering back-to-school supplies, especially backpacks, to distribute to families at the House of Peace site, 1702 W. Walnut St., on Aug. 25 and Aug. 26. Donors can use the organization’s Target Registry or Amazon Wishlist, which will ship donations right to the Capuchin Community Services.
Other donations can be dropped off or mailed to the House of Peace site, 1702 W. Walnut St., by Friday, Aug. 21. Donations should be dropped off at the 17th Street door. Drop-off times run Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information and a list of supplies needed, see here or call (414) 933-1300.
2. No Empty Backpacks School Supplies Drive: Donations accepted until Sunday, Aug. 23
Due to COVID-19, the annual No Empty Backpacks MPS school supply drive is going virtual. Folks wanting to contribute are encouraged to visit the No Empty Backpacks donation website by Aug. 23 to select items that will be useful for MPS families to learn online and from home.
3. Penfield Children’s Center School Supply Drive: Ongoing donations accepted
To prepare for the school year, the Penfield Children’s Center encourages volunteers to host a school supplies and backpack collection or consider making a monetary donation.
Once items have been collected, call (414) 345-6376 or schedule a time to drop off supplies at the Penfield Children’s Center, 833 N. 26th St.