Angel Mission Free Store: Filling a need and students’ backpacks

HANCOCK – It’s back-to-school time, which means parents will have to buy school supplies, but some parents may have difficulty paying for those items, and that’s the purpose of the Angel Mission Free Store backpack program.

Free Store co-directors Terry Bazin and Lynn Lanyon said the need for backpacks and supplies grows every year. In the past they took supplies for only elementary through high school students, but recently they started taking backpacks and supplies for college students.

“We’ve found a lot of college students need supplies,” Bazin said.

A variety of new age-appropriate backpacks and supplies are needed. Supplies needed include, but are not limited to, pencils, pens, and staplers, for all ages. For high school and college students, highlighting pens are needed. Calculators are in demand, also.

“More and more, the kids have to have the calculators,” Bazin said.

Although the sign-up period for backpacks and supplies is done, with more than 130 parents signing up, Bazin said backpacks and supplies are still needed for about 100 students.

However, Lanyon said the volunteers at the Free Store will do their best to make certain all children needing supplies will get them.

“We always come through somehow,” she said.

Bazin said there is a significant need for school supplies every year, because some people are just finding out about the program, which has been operating for many years.

“We’re getting a lot of new faces here,” she said.

Despite that, Bazin said about 90 percent of the parents who sign up for backpacks and supplies are returning.

The Angel Mission Free Store is located at 119 Fifth St. in Calumet. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. To learn about donating backpacks, school supplies or money for the Angel Mission backpack program, call co-directors Terry Bazin at 370-9240 or Lynn Lanyon at 934-3602.