Friendship Center Helps Kids Feel Included on Their First Day of School

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  As the school year begins, kids are getting ready for classes and packing their backpacks with fresh school supplies. However, there are many families in the metro who cannot provide school supplies to their children. That’s why on Saturday, the Friendship Center in Des Moines is giving away free backpacks with school supplies.

“Allowing the kids to see the value in themselves, with that new backpack, with the new school supplies, that’s what we’re here for, that’s why we exist,” The Friendship Center Executive Director Joe Quick said.

The center has 90 new backpacks all catered toward Elementary School, Middle School and High School students. They are filled with folders, notebooks, pencils, pens, rulers, erasers, glue, scissors and calculators.

Quick said giving away free backpacks helps kids feel included, “Having that new backpack, having the new supplies, brand new, with everybody else’s, too you have that bond you can share with everybody else in the class. I remember growing up getting a new backpack and how excited I was to show it off to my friends and of course on the first day of school.”

There will also be a bingo game on Saturday with prizes of gift cars, laundry detergent and socks.

The 36-year-old community center is able to provide free classes and supplies through donations from local churches and individuals.

“People coming in. We’ve had women crying because they lost a job and just need some food, some clothes and diapers and they’re already feeling kind of low about themselves and so allowing them to come in here any time they want to and get that kind of services for free it’s very rewarding,” Quick said.

People can come to the Friendship Center at 3 P.M. on Saturday and the backpacks are first come first serve. They will play the bingo game and have a free meal.