Native American center offering free backpacks, school supplies

Tim Barnum
Free backpacks will be available at the Saganing Native American Center on Saturday.

STANDISH TWP. — Children will need a backpack, pencils and paper soon as the 2014-15 school year approaches, and the Saganing Native American Center, formerly the Saganing Indian Community Church, will be distributing the bags and supplies this Saturday.

An email from Amy Alberts, chairwoman of the Committee on Native American Ministries, said the Aug. 23 backpack giveaway is geared toward assisting Native American children, but all children are welcome. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be able to receive a backpack and supplies at the old Saganing church from noon to 2 p.m.

“We are set up as a firstcome, first serve basis,” Alberts said in an email to the Independent. “We only have so many backpacks to offer as this is our first time hosting an event of this type.”

Alberts said the committee is holding the event to let people in the area know that the Saganing center supports the area and Native Americans in the Detroit Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“CONAM wants the community to know that the Saganing Native American Center is dedicated to be a site for learning and for community support,” she said. “We thought one of the best ways to introduce that idea to the community is to have the Back to School Bonanza. This event will help meet a need in the Native American community throughout the Detroit conference and the immediate needs of families with school age children.”

The Back to School Bonanza could become an annual event, according to Alberts.

“We certainly hope to hold this event every year,” she said. “We will better evaluate our success once we host the event. Plus, it will be determined on the support we are able to secure through donations, United Methodist grant sources and designated projects through the Mission and Ministry program.”

People can help out with the backpack distribution by delivering school supplies to the Native American center the morning of the event, Alberts said.

“We already have a good supply of donated items, but if people would like to donate more, we would be happy to accept rulers, markers, colored pencils, pens, pencils, etc.,” she said. “If they would like to spend a little more, we could use some zip drives and portfolios for the older students.”

Donations need to be dropped off by 10 a.m. so organizers have ample time to separate them, Alberts said.

The Iosco-Arenac District Library will be on hand at the giveaway to read books and make crafts with children, and the Kids Klothesline, a project by the Community United Methodist Church in Standish, will also be set up for clothing donations.

The Saganing Native American Center is located at 5540 Sturman Rd. in Standish.

For more information, contact Alberts at 989-728-5772.


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