Get Back to School Ready: Free School Supplies + Best Spots for Kids Haircuts in SWMI

kids haircuts back to school free school supplies

Where to Find Kids Haircuts and Free School Supplies for Fall 2023

I’m not sure where summer went, but my recent Target trip provided a glimpse into back-to-school prep. With shelves fully stocked with Sharpies and Ticonderogas, I know fall is just around the corner.

Although I’m not quite ready to give up flexible bedtimes and day trips to the beach, I am ready to get organized for the upcoming school year.

We’ve scouted SWMI for the best spots for FREE school supply events, retailers and the best kids haircuts.

No matter what your learning plans may be, we wish you a safe and happy school year.

kids haircuts back to school free school supplies

Kalamazoo Public Schools

Home to The Kalamazoo Promise scholarship, Kalamazoo Public Schools continues to improve achievement through collaboration between staff, students, families, and community partners.

At KPS, it is our mission to nurture the dreams of all students and empower all students to contribute to a better world. #WeAreKPS

Kalamazoo Public Schools

Where to Find Free School Supplies

Southwest Michigan is home to multiple nonprofits that can help families with school supplies, food and more.

Read on for upcoming distribution events and contact information for these organizations:

School Supply Drives near Kalamazoo

Local organizations hold events each summer to distribute free school supplies. Some events may have residency or registration requirements; be sure to read the fine print before you head out.

For more local events, check our calendar.

July 27 -29, 2023
Love Week
, Valley Family Church

We will be giving away free groceries, produce and back-to-school backpacks filled with school supplies for kids kindergarten through 12th grade as well as diapers, formula, clothing and stuffed animals. Each event will have free inflatable games, a cook out, face painting and other fun activities for those who attend.

This year, we’re giving away over 750 backpacks — they are available to children kindergarten through 12th grade; children must be present and a limited amount is available at each community so attendees are encouraged to arrive early.

Thursday, July 27: Vicksburg – Farmers Market Pavilion (6:00 PM – 7:30 PM)
Friday, July 28 : Paw Paw – Tyler Field (6:00 PM – 7:30 PM)
Saturday, July 29: Kalamazoo – Upjohn Park (10:00 AM – Noon)


August 5, 2023
Annual Backpack Bonanza
, Generous Hands

Income-qualifying children and their families looking for free back-to-school supplies and snacks may attend the annual Backpack Bonanza to be held on Saturday, August 5 at the South County Community/Generous Hands location.

Parents and guardians must pre-register their child(ren); an adult must accompany all children during the event.


Back to School free school supplies

August 11, 2023
Back to School Bash 2023

Join us for the fun on August 11 for our FREE Back to School Bash!
• Carnival Rides
• Food
• Backpacks
• School Supplies
• Personal Care Kits
• Prizes
A recent child well-visit and up-to-date immunizations are required. Schedule an appointment by calling 269.488.0805.


Back to School free school supplies

August 16, 2023
Project Backpack


The Salvation Army is proud to host Project Backpack, a back-to-school party on August 16th from 11 am to 1 pm at 1700 S Burdick.

This event is open to all kids from kindergarten to 8th grade, and we have an amazing lineup of activities and services planned just for them. 💯

  • Backpacks and school supplies
  • Haircuts
  • Food
  • Bounce house
  • School pictures
  • Medical and dental services


September 9, 2023
Beyond the Backpack


Beyond the Backpack is an event to help prepare youth for school at Bronson Park. Emotional health services will be provided, along with backpacks, swag bags, free food boxes, books, and more.


Local Nonprofits for School Supplies

These Kalamazoo area organizations assist with traditional school supplies, food, and other support areas for local students from elementary school through college:

Communities in Schools’ Kids’ Closet


The CIS Kids’ Closet helps meet needs for clothing, personal care items, and school supplies for K-12 students so that they are ready and able to learn every day. Based on limited staff and storage capacity, we ask that all donations are new.

Generous Hands Inc


Generous Hands is a non-profit organization that provides backpacks of food every weekend to children who need supplemental food assistance.

First Day Shoe Fund


First Day Shoe Fund provides new athletic shoes to students at Kalamazoo County public elementary schools.

RAWK: Read and Write Kalamazoo

Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) is a nonprofit organization devoted to nurturing intellectual and creative confidence in youth in Kalamazoo County through creative writing workshops, summer camps, in-school programs, after-school tutoring, and community partnerships.

Supplies for Success


Supplies for Success assists students and families in need at the Mattawan Early and Later Elementary School, Middle and High school with new and gently used clothing.

Western Michigan’s Invisible Need Project


The Invisible Need Project works to support WMU students with unmet basic needs, including food, menstrual products, school supplies and other unexpected costs.

Where to Purchase School Supplies in SWMI

Whether you’re looking for a notebook, a box of Crayolas or clothes, we’ve rounded up the best options for families to stock up for this school year.

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.

Money Saving Tip: Try Dollar Tree, Dollar General or discount stores like B2 Outlet Store for some potential savings.


In addition to the typical big box retailers, families love LL Bean, Lands End, Eddie Bauer and Pottery Barn Kids for school backpacks.

Shopping Tip: be sure to verify bag size (many have size charts) to ensure all supplies will fit and your child can carry it easily.


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 top-recommended spots.

Money Saving Tip: Resale shops can offer some great deals on clothes. Two local favorites are Once Upon a Child and Second Childhood.


First Day Shoe Fund is a local nonprofit that helps K-5 students with new athletic shoes in Kalamazoo County’s public schools. Read more about their programs here.

Locally owned Little Chick Shoe Shop offers a guaranteed fit and will prorate them if your child outgrows them too quickly. You can find them in Oakwood Plaza in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Kids Shoe Store
Little Chick Shoe Shop is located at 1924 Whites Rd, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Favorite Spots for Kids Haircuts in Southwest Michigan

For many kids, a new ‘do is a fun back-to-school tradition as they gear up for the new year. We’ve rounded up top spots for kids haircuts, as suggested by local parents:

Coachlite Cutters
8850 Shaver Rd, Portage, 49024, MI
Great Clips
5903 Gull Rd, Kalamazoo, MI 49048
Hair by Logan
212 W Milham Ave, Portage, MI 49024
Jude’s Barbershop
2050 W Centre Ave, Portage, MI 49024
Magnificent Hair by Michelle
919 W Milham Ave, Portage, MI 49024
Nick’s Barber Shop
115 S Main St, Vicksburg, MI 49097 
Refined Men’s Grooming
6997 Q AVE W Ste #2 Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Samson’s Haircare Barbershop
254 E Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Offers free haircuts to children who are in foster care or who have been adopted.
Sports Clips Haircuts
5304 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
7101 S Westnedge Ave, Portage, MI 49002
UncLee’s Barber Shop
1909 W Main St, Kalamazoo, MI 49006

Money Saving Tip: Barber and Beauty schools offer inexpensive (often $5 or less) haircuts for kids. Try Empire in Portage or West Michigan College of Barbering and Beauty in Kalamazoo.

Dream of Kalamazoo Foundation Fundraiser

Dream of Kalamazoo Foundation provides quality professional services to children in the foster and adoptive system within Kalamazoo & Calhoun areas- including free haircuts!

The organization’s first annual fundraiser is in August.

Where is your favorite spot for school supplies?

Share your tips for back to school shopping in the comments!