Kalamazoo Back 2 School Guide: District Reopening Plans + Where to Buy & Donate Supplies

Girl studying

Are You Ready for the Strangest School Year Ever?

Like many local parents, I keep waiting for a return to normal, but we aren’t there yet. As teachers and parents wait for districts to finalize their plans, many of us are longing for a typical back to school season. I know I would happily trade this uncertainty for a mundane search for Sharpies and the best box of crayons.

Whether in-person or virtual, we are all trying to establish a school routine and hoping for the best. We’ve outlined spots to both grab supplies and donate them, in addition to Return to Learn Plans and other educational resources. No matter what your learning plans may be, we wish you a safe and happy school year.

Homeschool Resource Guide


Paramount Charter Academy

Personal Technology Provided to ALL Our Students.
While we may not know exactly what the next school year holds—whether we’re back in school, remote, or a combination of both—we have a plan in place and the technology to support it. All of our students will be provided personal learning devices and parents will be able to choose between online or virtual classes for their child.

Paramount Charter 680x320 2020

3624 S Westnedge
Kalamazoo, Michigan
(269) 553-6400


Whether you’re looking for a Chromebook, a box of Crayolas or a face mask, we’ve rounded up the best options for families to stock up for this school year. Kalamazoo also offers organizations and events to distribute supplies:

School Supplies Retailers

Classroom Supplies
For pencils, markers, folders and other typical classroom items, our readers prefer Walmart, Meijer, Office Depot and Target. Take advantage of drive-up options for curbside pickup to make things easier.

Fortunately, masks are much easier to locate in stores now. Many families have had success with the masks from Walmart, Meijer or Target.

If using fabric ones, be sure to purchase extra to make laundry an easier (and less frequent) chore. We also recommend placing a backup mask in backpacks. Want to make your own? Try our tips here.

Virtual learners will need a computer for home, but it may not need to be a Chromebook specifically. Check with your school first. Many have computers available to loan.

Chromebook shoppers are most likely to find them at Walmart, Amazon, Staples and Best Buy. Computers have been in high demand since COVID hit, so you may need to check multiple retailers.

Other Virtual Supplies
For families with multiple children learning at home, consider headphones. Big kids may also benefit from a computer mouse.

If your children are like mine, their formerly full-length pants are now capris.  The Children’s Place, Target, Walmart, Gap Kids, Aeropostale and Carters are some reader recommended spots. Two other favorites are resale shops Once Upon a Child and Second Childhood.

Locally owned Little Chick Shoe Shop offers a guaranteed fit on shoes (they prorate them if your child outgrows them too quickly). They are open by appointment only through September (call or send them a Facebook message to schedule).

Donations & Drives

A fantastic way to help local communities is through school supply donations. We’ve listed local organizations that distribute school supplies in the Kalamazoo area:

School Supplies Events

August 15, 2020, 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Pig Out in the Park with Public Safety Ramona Park
8600 S Sprinkle Rd, Portage, MI 49002

This annual event in Portage distributes free backpacks and school supplies. Due to COVID-19, this year’s event will be a “drive-in” style. Park Rangers will be on-site to direct your car to multiple stops for school supplies and food.