Where to find free or discounted school supplies (and how you can help others)

Collections of school supplies take place throughout the month of August. (NNS File Photo by Bridget Fogarty)

With young students about to return to school, it’s time to start thinking about where to get school supplies such as backpacks, notebooks and pencils.

The cost of these can add up quickly, but luckily there are people in our neighborhoods who are running campaigns to make sure kids have access to the supplies they need at an affordable price or for free.

This list of back-to-school campaigns shows that getting kids ready for school is a community effort, as items and services are offered by churches, nail salons, hair salons, radio, etc

Most drives require your child to be present to receive free supplies.

Don’t see a fundraising or donation opportunity listed? Email us at info@milwaukeenns.org

How to get free or discounted school supplies

Change 4 book bag reader Sylville Smith: Saturday August 13

The sixth annual book bag drive in memory of Sylville Smith, who was killed by a Milwaukee police officer in 2016, is taking place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, August 13 at Sherman Park, located at 3000 N. Sherman Blvd . In addition to free school supplies, there will also be a bike giveaway, free food, and live music.

A’lanit trendy backpack: Saturday August 13

Backpacks will be distributed while supplies last beginning at 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 at the intersection of North 68th Street and West Fiebrantz Avenue.

Back to School Contest at Lindsay Park: Saturday August 13

Bags of books and school supplies will be given out, and there will be inflatables, raffles, games and food, from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 at Lindsay Park, located at 4360 N. 87th St.

Back to School Operation: Saturday August 13

Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative hosts this event to prepare veterans and their children for the start of the new school year with school supplies, lunch, bouncy houses, and games. The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 at Liberty Heights Park, located at 1540 S. 62nd St. RSVP by calling 414-257-4111

27th Annual King Community Center Breakfast and Back-to-School Event: Saturday August 13

WJMR Jammin’ 98.3 is hosting this breakfast and back-to-school event where kids in attendance receive a school bag full of school supplies and a free breakfast. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center, located at 1531 W. Vliet St.

Distribution of school supplies at the Risen Savior Lutheran School: Saturday August 13

All children in kindergarten through 8 can receive school supplies and have their hair cut or braided from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 13 at 3909 W. Clinton Ave.

Free Fade Factory Haircuts: Sunday August 14

The Fade Factory Barbers will be offering free haircuts to youth 13 and under from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, August 14 at 7515 W. Oklahoma Ave. Cups will be awarded on a first come, first served basis.

Heal the Hood and the African American Back-to-School Roundtable: Saturday August 20

Get a bag of books and school supplies while enjoying free food, yoga in the park, over 30 local vendors, a kids’ corner, music, and shows. The event runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 20 at the Clovernook Playfield, located at 6600 N. Landers St.

Back-to-school campaign My Little Dreamers: Saturday August 20

My Little Dreamers Daycare is hosting its seventh annual school supply drive. You can get free book bags and school supplies while the kids enjoy food, games, a bouncy house and face painting. The ride runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 20 at 4036 N. 51st Blvd.

Noir’e Hair District Back-to-School Contest: Saturday August 20

Noir’e Hair District held a free distribution of clothing and school supplies from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, August 20 at 1947 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Children must be present.

Book gift bag and free hairstyles and cuts for kids: Saturday August 20

Lavish Crowns LLC is hosting this book bag and school supplies giveaway with free hairstyles and cuts for kids going back to school. The giveaway runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 20 at 7319 N. Teutonia Ave.

Giveaway of book bags and resource fair: Saturday August 20

Mommie & Me Prenatal Care Services is hosting a book bag and resource fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 20 at 2829 N. Teutonia Ave.

School supplies and live shows: Saturday August 20

Amazing Angels Child Care is hosting this event where parents can get free school supplies and watch live performances while kids enjoy bouncy houses at this kid-friendly event. The event runs from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 20 at the intersection of North 11e and West Clarke Streets.

Back-to-School Festival and Talent Show in Washington Park: Sunday August 21

Backpacks full of supplies, kid-friendly vendors, a talent show for ages 6-16, bouncy houses and more will be at the Washington Park Bandstand from 2-6 p.m. Sunday 21st of August.

Back 2 school pop-up shop: Saturday August 27

Free backpacks and school supplies for children attending between noon and 5 p.m. Saturday, August 27 at 1935 W. Silver Spring Drive.

Back to School Fair: Saturday August 27

Free backpacks with school supplies, free haircuts, car show, horseback rides and more at this back-to-school event from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, August 27 at McGovern Park Area 1, located at 5400 N 51st Blvd. M

Community Day at Brentwood Church of Christ: Saturday August 27

This one-day celebration includes free school supplies and clothing in addition to resources for seniors, food, entertainment, a motorcycle show and local vendors. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 27 at 6425 N. 60th St.

Back to school gift at the center street library: Friday, Sept. 2

School supplies will be distributed at the Center Street branch of the Milwaukee Public Library from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, September 2 at 2727 W. Fond du Lac Ave.

back to school gift: Saturday, Sept. 3

Pick up school supplies as well as food, makeup, and draws from 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 at 8700 W. Brown Deer Rd.

how to help

The MPS Foundation is not organizing a public distribution of school supplies, but will be raising $50,000 through September 14 to purchase bags of books and supplies for students. Donation Instructions here.

MPS is also collecting in-kind school supplies and cash donations to purchase supplies through September 9. Instructions on how to donate here.

Capuchin Community Services is collecting in-kind and cash donations until August 19. More information here.

United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County is collecting donations to buy school supplies here.

Milwaukee Rescue Mission Collects In-Kind and Cash Donations, More Information here.

As part of the eighth annual Education Slumber Party, Tracey Dent, Executive Director of the Peace for Change Alliance, collects in-kind and cash donations to bring school supplies to an MPS school. More information here.

First Day Fits is accepting clothing until August 12 for youth returning to school. Details on how to donate here.


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