SANDPOINT — Organizers of the Angels Over Sandpoint back-to-school program, which provides backpacks and school supplies for limited income children in Bonner County, increased the number of students they served in 2020.
When the program started in 2002, wrote Kate McAlister, a board member for AOS in an email. AOS provided school supplies to about 20 students. In 2019 they served roughly 1,000 students, and in 2020, that number was approximately 1,300 students.
AOS is sustained largely by donations and supplemental grant funding, she said, and supplies go to all public schools in Bonner County and some home-school students.
“This program continues to be a success because of the generosity of our local Bonner County community,” she wrote. “Donations not only give students school supplies, they help out families in need and in turn, make our community stronger.”
This year, organizers had to change their routine this year due to COVID-19 to ensure children in need still have necessary school supplies, McAlister wrote.
Most years, families would sign up through Community Action Partnership to receive supplies, then pick up those supplies at the Farmin-Stidwell Elementary School gymnasium the week before school started, she wrote.
Because of the pandemic, supplies were delivered to schools. This meant organizers had to unpack, sort and group supplies by school for delivery, McAlister wrote.
Robin Hanson, back to school program coordinator for the AOS, said she wants to reach more children in need through the change to school deliveries.
“My hope is we can reach kids who have never signed up before to get supplies but are still in need,” she said according to a press release.
In addition to AOS efforts, the West Bonner County School District helped with picking up the supplies, McAlister wrote. The program also received contributions from their local partners including Staples, Sandpoint Super Drug and Walmart.
Ryan Wells, general manager at the Staples in Ponderay, also rented a van with his team to deliver supplies to various schools in Bonner County, McAlister wrote.
For more information on the Angels Over Sandpoint, or to make a donation, go to www.angelsoversandpoint.org.