Backpacks, clothing being given away Aug. 26


STANDISH TWP. — The fourth annual Back-To-School Bonanza at the Saganing Native American Center in Standish Township is offering free backpacks and clothing for area children from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26.

Committee on Native American Ministries member Clara Lawrence said the event started due to a need in the area, with families struggling to afford school supplies. She said people begin to line up at the center long before the distribution begins.

“They’ll be there at 9 o’clock in the morning,” she said. “They were waiting last year before I got there and helped me bring in a lot of the stuff from my car.”

Lawrence said the number of people taking advantage of the free backpacks and clothing grew the first two years, but dipped last year when the event was held on a day when it was raining hard.

“The first year we did about 180,” she said. “The second year we did a little more than 200, about 220. Last year because of the rain we were back down to about 150.”

Along with the backpacks and clothing available at the Back-To-School Bonanza, Lawrence said the Delta Dental Clinic donated toothpaste and toothbrushes for children and local libraries donated books.

“We have a lot of books,” she said. “Area libraries have been holding a lot of book sales and donating some of their unsold books. I’ve been asking for books on Native American culture.”

Leftover backpacks will be distributed as needed by Rose Bledsoe, who operates a diaper pantry at the center, Lawrence said.

“(Bledsoe) gives them out one by one as needed at the diaper pantry,” she said. “Otherwise we save them for the next year.”

For more information, contact Lawrence at 248-863-7705.

The Saganing Native American Center is located at 5450 Sturman Rd.


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