School supply chain
You couldn't get through a checkout at OfficeMax without being asked if you wanted to donate. The Jackson Road Walgreens had a collection boxes at the door, though in early August all it contained was three candy bars. The manager, embarrassed, fished them out and said they were probably left over from the "Treats for Troops" drive that had just ended.
Walgreens turns all donations over to the national Kids in Need Foundation. Closer to home, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District's Education Project gathers supplies for over 1,200 homeless kids in the county.
Surprisingly, what may be the biggest school-supply roundup of all takes place at the end of the year, when students in Ann Arbor and several nearby towns clean out their lockers and give the usable leftovers to the School Supplies for the Philippines Collection project. Virginia Rezmierski, who's run the effort out of Ann Arbor's First Presbyterian Church since 1999, says this year's haul included 28 gallons of markers, 67 gallons of crayons, and 10,000 storybooks. The project now funnels some of the recycled booty to local groups as well, including Peace Neighborhood Center and Bryant Community Center in Ann Arbor and the Second Mile Center in Detroit.
[Originally published in September, 2012.]