By Ben Olson
It was a good week for students in the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Two different Sandpoint organizations each showed support for students in the school district by organizing donations to students.
On Tuesday, representatives from Washington Trust Bank distributed four full pallets of school supplies to LPOSD earmarked to be given to local students.
“In addition to the school supplies, we also donated 163 pounds of shelf stable food items and $2,056 payable to the Bonner Community Food Bank to support the school district’s weekend meal program,” said Natalie Keller, learning and development consultant at Washington Trust.
The donation is an annual tradition for Washington Trust’s C.A.R.E. Committee (Community Action Relationship Experts), which coordinates a school supply drive to a community school in the region each year. This year, Washington Trust chose LPOSD as the recipient.
“WTB believes that supporting our communities involves doing whatever it takes,” Keller said. “The school district (the teachers and students) are our community.”
Keller wanted to recognize the work of Sandpoint’s branch manager Raina Delema and all the employees from multiple departments that continue to make this drive a success.
Across town, around the same time, another distribution of school supplies took place. The annual Back to School program sponsored by the Angels Over Sandpoint delivered nine pallets of school supplies and a truckload of backpacks to the Farmin Stidwell Elementary School gymnasium Tuesday. Each family that registered received a variety of supplies to help them during the school year.
Over 30 volunteers from the Angels (and some from the community) spent two days unloading the pallets and organizing the distribution, which this year included special bags for Priest River and Clark Fork students that may not have been able to make it into Sandpoint for the distribution.
“We want every kid to have the same opportunities, starting on the first day of school,” Robin Hansen, co-chair for the Back to School program said. “We want them to walk in with the same supplies and be as prepared as their classmates, giving them the same chances. We want them to be excited. We’d rather have them be excited when they start school on the first day.”
Hansen estimated over 800 students receive school supplies free of charge every year from the Back to School program, which covers Sandpoint, Priest River and Clark Fork schools too.
“We’re the Angels Over Sandpoint, but really, we’re the Angels Over Bonner County,” said Hansen. “We serve the entire county.”
The donation, which totals over $28,000, comes from a variety of sources, Hansen said.
“We get donations from other foundations, organizations, local businesses and individuals,” Hansen said. “We worked closely with Staples to get the best prices we can, which helps greatly.”