Saco Grange 53 has put out the word to local businesses and others in their quest to acquire 100 backpacks and fill them with school supplies, which they’ll deliver to Saco schools for distribution. The drive culminates Aug. 20 with a day of fun at the Grange Hall, 168 North St. Journal Tribune file photo

SACO — School will be starting soon — Aug. 31 for students in Grades 1— and a little later for prekindergarten, kindergarten, middle school, and high school students at Thornton Academy — and people at Saco Grange 53 want to help make sure students have what they need.

They have started a drive to collect 100 backpacks along with all the school supplies they can stuff in them, plus supplies for Saco classrooms.

“We’re filling the backpacks and giving them to schools to be distributed,” said Kathy Smith, one of the organizers. “The schools will know better where the needs are.”

The drive is going well, said Smith, and will culminate on Aug. 20 at the Grange Hall, 168 North St., with a Driving for Backpacks event with games and face painting, raffles, a 50/50 draw and more. Food trucks are expected to have tasty treats for sale for the 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. event. Admission to Driving for Backpacks is $5, or free with a donation of a new school supply.

“We hope the community will come out and support this event,” said Smith.

This is a new project for the grange, which has seen a rejuvenation in recent years. Smith and other members, eight in all, reached out to local businesses, asking for assistance — to either allow a bin where people could drop off supplies — or by providing a financial donation so Grange members could purchase backpacks and the supplies to put in them.


“The Grange is the host and we’re partnering with businesses in Saco to help us reach our goal,” said Smith.

Grange Secretary Sandy Leeman said the new project “is doing very well.”

So far, $2,500 has been raised in cash and supplies, said Smith.

Those who wish may drop off items in bins set up at Bradley Street Deli, On the Go Hair Designs, Long and Short of Its hair salon, Camden National Bank, and Julz Boutique.

The Grange is seeking supplies for students from preschool to high school and looking for back packs, erasers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, scissors, personal calendar planners, pocket folders, 3-ring binders and paper, index cards, pens, highlighters, glue sticks, markers, rulers, spiral notebooks, tissues, construction paper and a host of other items.

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