by Robin B and Jill P

Yes, it’s hard to believe that we’re thinking about “back to school” time already. But, if you’re in the stores, you’ll see the stacks of back to school supplies. Many local non-profits and other community organizations are collecting supplies. So, if you’ve begun shopping for your kids’ supplies, why not pick up an extra set for those in need in our community?

Check out our list here to see who in the community is collecting. Also, let us know if you’ve missed any organization that is collecting. We’ll update this guide as we get more information.




Communities In Schools

125 W Exchange Pl, Kalamazoo | 337-1601, ext. 205
Here are the most frequently requested school supplies from the CIS Kids’ Closet. All items that are donated are new.


  • Backpacks (all grade levels)
  • Pens (blue & black)
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Three-ring binders (1 – 2 inch)
  • Spiral-bound notebooks
  • Two-pocket folders
  • Notebook paper (regular & college-rule)
  • Pencil box/pouch
  • Crayons
  • Markers (washable)
  • Colored pencils
  • Glue sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Index cards
  • Kleenex
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pant & underwear in children’s sizes 4, 6, 8


Special drop-off locations & promotions

  • During the month of August – Little Sprout Children’s Boutique (3009 Oakland Drive in the Oakwood Plaza) – drop off 5 or more school supplies to receive $10 off a $50 or more purchase
  • July 27 – August 13 – Hiemstra Optical locations in Plainwell, Paw Paw, Portage and Kalamazoo (Downtown & Gull Road) – to benefit students in those communities
  • Saturday, August 15 – “Stuff the Bus” events sponsored by Hiemstra Optical: Stuff the Bus
    *11:00 am – 3:00 pm at Bronson Park as part of The Kalamazoo Promise’s 10th Anniversary Community Celebration.
    * 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at Hiemstra Optical in Portage (255 Romence Rd – near Ritter’s) as part of their Back-to-School Frame Show.

Individuals can also contact Emily at Community in Schools if you have questions or would like to organize a collection drive: or 337-1601, ext. 205.



Generous Hands, Inc.

Vicksburg |  269-370-7965

Generous Hands is accepting new backpacks and school supplies for their 8th annual “Back to School Bonanza”. The following is a list of supplies needed by August 8.

  • Rulers, scissors, Crayola crayons, colored pencils, markers, notebook filler paper (wide-ruled and college-ruled size), folders, 1” binders, back packs, Hygiene items (small hand sanitizers, small tissue packets, dental floss, travel shampoo), gently used children’s clothing.

Items can be dropped off at the Generous Hands location (113. S. Kalamazoo Avenue in Vicksburg) on Wednesday evenings between 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. or on Friday’s from 10:00 – noon.  Or you can contact 269-370-7965 for additional hours or pick-up.



Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

1747 W. Milham Avenue, Portage | 269-343-3453

School supply donations will be accepted during the week of August 3 – 6th for the Art of Service Camp program. Items in need include:

  • New or gently used backpacks, underwear – new (size 4-6, for both boys & girls), sweatpants/Knit pants – new or used (size 4-6, for both boys & girls), Socks – new (size 4-8), Sharpened pencils, Colored pencils, 24 count Crayons, Colored folders, Dry-Erase Markers, Craft Markers (Crayola), Tissues, Lysol or Clorox Wipes

Donations can be dropped off at the Church during the week of August 3 from 9:00 – noon.



Portage Community Center

325 E Centre Ave, Portage, MI 4900 | 269-323-1942

School supplies being collected this year are:


  • Pencils (Mechanical and No.2)
  • Ink Pens (Red, Black, and Blue)
  • Crayons
  • Markers (both washable and permanent)
  • Highlighters
  • Colored Pencils
  • Pocket Folders
  • Binders
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Planners
  • Lined Notebook Paper (wide and college ruled)
  • Pencil Holder Boxes
  • Backpacks
  • Scientific Calculators
  • Glue Sticks
  • Rulers
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • Erasers
  • Protractor and Compass
  • Bookmarks
  • Kleenex


Call Alex at the Portage Community Center at 323-1942 x213 or at email at: with any specific questions.



Twelve Baskets

10332 Portage Road, Portage | 269-532-4912

Twelve Baskets accepts donations of food, prior to expiration, at their location in Portage. Please contact them to set up a time or drop donations off at one of the “Stuff a Bus” or other distribution events. Check out their Facebook page for a list of current events. September 15, 2015 is the next “Stuff a Bus” event to be held at D & W on Romence from 9:00 – 4:00 p.m.



Power Up

Lake Center Bible Church, 995 Romence Road, Portage | 269-327-1004

Power Up helps serves over 300 Portage Public school students with kid-friendly meals over the weekends during the school year. They are in need of the following items:

  • Ramen noodles, Ez Mac-n-Cheese, Canned soup, Instant oatmeal, Individual cereals, Nutra grain bars, Pop tarts, Granola bars, Peanut butter crackers, Individual snacks, Fruit cups

Items can be dropped off at Lake Center Bible Church during regular office hours Monday – Thursday from 9:00 – 4:00 p.m. or email to arrange pick-up.

A food drive will be held at the Woodbridge Harding’s on Centre Street in Portage on August 22nd, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.



Family & Children Services

1608 Lake Street, Kalamazoo | 269-344-0202

778 W. Columbia, Battle Creek | 269-965-3247

Click here to see full listing of school supplies that they are collecting.



Pathfinder Church

8740 S. Westnedge Avenue, Portage | 269-327-6761

Pathfinder Church is collecting supplies for elementary students as well as supplies to help support the teachers at Portage Central Elementary school.



Backpack Bridgade

Galesburg | 269-873-8010

Drop off at the Galesburg-Charleston Memorial District-Library or contact Amanda at the phone number below.

Accepting donation of the following:

  • Pens, pencils, 24 count crayons, colored pencils, 10 count markers, dry erase markers, hand sanitizer, clorox/lysol wipes, kleenex’s 2 pocket folders, pencil boxes/pouches, binders (2″-3″), glue sticks, kids scissors,pink erasers, cap erasers for pencils, spiral notebooks, highlighters, and band-aids.


Supplies for Success

Mattawan | 269-929-6533

Drop off location is still at the Edward Jones Investment office, Woodbridge Shopping Village, Centre Avenue, Portage.

A Back To School Event with the Mattawan Area Food Pantry September 19. We are gearing up and are in need of donations. We are looking for backpacks, new or gently used school appropriate clothing (size 5-14/16), new socks and underwear, tennis shoes and waterproof gloves.




By | 2015-08-05T06:23:55+00:00 August 5th, 2015|Categories: Around Kalamazoo, Newly Published, Parent resources|Comments Off on Giving Back – Donating Back To School Supplies

About the Author:

Jill is a mom of a busy 9 year old son. When not working the website, Jill likes to hike, cook, and read in her free time.