The Rapidian

School supply drive to benefit D.A. Blodgett - St. John's Home youth

Annual backpack drive underway; collecting backpacks and school supplies to help the youth at D.A. Blodgett - St. John's to start school on the right foot.
Underwriting support from:

How to contribute:

Call (616) 361-4118 with questions or to schedule a supply pick up.
Visit for a complete list of needed supplies.
Drop off supplies to: 805 Leonard Street Northeast 49503



Members of the Marilyn J. Olson Guild and D.A. Blodgett staff pose with newly stuffed backpacks.

Members of the Marilyn J. Olson Guild and D.A. Blodgett staff pose with newly stuffed backpacks. /Maria Filice

It’s August, meaning there is only one short month until Labor Day-- and back to school. With the sadness of summer ending also comes the excitement of school starting. For some West Michigan youth, however, it can be a difficult transition, especially for the children who receive services from D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s.

Celebrating its 125th year anniversary, D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s provides services such as foster care, adoption, family support, residential treatment and emergency shelter care to over 500 West Michigan youth. To help the kids in their care and that benefit from their services, the organization is collecting backpacks and other school supplies.

“Our goal is to have our kids to go back to school well supplied so they’re excited to go back to school,” said D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s Executive Director Sharon Louthridge.

In addition to the children living in residential treatment and foster care, D. A. Blodgett - St. John’s also has social workers stationed in eight different Kent school services. Many of the families cannot afford to purchase supplies for their children.

“We serve some of the most vulnerable kids. We don’t want them to feel different due to the issues they’ve had," Louthridge said. "We want them to be eager and confident."

500 is a lot of backpacks to fill, and D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s is working with businesses and individuals to accomplish their goal. Businesses set up collection boxes in the office for employees to donate supplies which can either be dropped off at the D.A. Blodgett campus on Leonard or arranged for pick up. Individuals can do the same or donate money and the staff at D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s will do the shopping.

“Sometimes places will fill backpacks and bring them in filled, or one, it all helps,” said Louthridge.

Colored pencils, spiral notebooks, pencils, rulers, pens, erasers, glue sticks, paper, crayons, scissors, and markers are just some of the supplies needed. Supplies are then stuffed into backpacks by the members of the Marilyn J. Olson Guild and distributed to the kids in time for the start of school in September.

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