Samaritas Challenges Online Buyers to Donate School Supplies for Annual Backpack Drive

DETROIT  – Samaritas is launching the Annual Backpack Drive for Kids this week to collect school supplies for the students in its care. Starting this Wed., July 15 through Sat., Aug 15, Samaritas is asking the public to donate 1,400 backpacks and the school supplies to fill them.  

“The uncertainty of how schools will open is worrisome for all of us. The anxiety is even worse for our clients who were already struggling to make ends meet. Many are not in a position to give their kids what they need for school,” said Kevin Van Den Bosch, chief operating officer, Samaritas. “We want to make sure that the kids in our network are ready for any educational platform they may face this fall. Any donations to help us meet our goal will be helpful.” 

Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, in-person donations will not be allowed this year. Instead, the backpacks and school supplies may be purchased from this Amazon Wish List available at and shipped to the Samaritas Detroit Office located at 8131 E. Jefferson Avenue, Detroit 48214. Monetary donations to help purchase school supplies can also be made online at  

Brightly-colored or age-appropriate character themed backpacks like those from Marvel, Paw Patrol, etc. are recommended for younger children and gender-neutral backpacks are preferred for students nine years-old and older. Visit to learn more about specific items needed for various age groups.  

Recommended school supplies include:  

  • ball point pens (blue, black, red) 
  • calculators 
  • colored pencils 
  • crayons 
  • erasers 
  • glue and glue sticks 
  • highlighters 
  • index cards 
  • loose leaf paper (wide and college-ruled)  
  • markers 
  • notebooks (spiral bound) 
  • pencils (no. 2)  
  • pencil sharpeners 
  • pencil pouches and/or boxes 
  • permanent markers (Sharpies) 
  • pocket folders 
  • post-it notes 
  • scissors (regular and safety scissors) 
  • three-ring binders 

“This time is particularly difficult for families in our refugee and New American programs, because they have language barriers and limited access to electronic devices that can help children interact with online school programs,” said Van Den Bosch. “Our frontline workers are doing their best to stretch the community donations they have.” 

Backpack drive donations will be distributed throughout Michigan to 11 Samaritas offices that offer child and family services the week of August 24. Volunteers of First Presbyterian Church of Warren and Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Southfield will prepare each backpack with the donated supplies. Contact Samaritas by email at for more information.  

About Samaritas 
Samaritas has sent ripples of positive change into Michigan communities since 1934. It is one of Michigan’s largest faith-based, nonprofit health and human services agencies and serves 13,000 people statewide. The agency helps children find loving families by utilizing family preservation, foster care and adoption programs and services. Through Samaritas, New Americans can access resettlement services for refugees and establish new homes. Samaritas offers transitional homes for the homeless, women existing the prison system and victims of human trafficking. Seniors seeking cost-effective, independent living options with memory care and rehab support, can also lean on Samaritas for assistance. It also offers affordable living communities that are clean, low-cost environments for seniors, families and people with development disabilities. More than safe harbor in crisis, Samaritas comes through, when others don’t. Visit for more information. Follow us on Facebook @IAmSamaritas, Twitter @IAmSamaritas or on Instagram @WeAreSamaritas. 

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