United Way of Yellowstone County holds supply drive

Posted at 10:56 PM, Sep 17, 2020


The United Way of Yellowstone County held its Operation Supply Drive Thursday.

"We coordinate with the homeless liaison, and she makes sure that the schools get exactly what they need to succeed throughout the school year," United Way Communications and Campaign Coordinator Lisa McDaniel said.

Organizers say that many students in Billings and surrounding areas will benefit from the donations, and that the success of the event is a community effort.

"Teachers get to know the kids pretty well. Make connections with the kids, the teachers do, and they can pull those kids aside and say what's the situation, if they just need a new backpack," Homeless Education Liaison for Billings School District 2 Sue Runkle said.

A few weeks into the school year, teachers, counselors, and administrators are able to identify needs in the schools.

"Forty percent of students are below poverty level. That's why this is so important," non-profit Angel Fund founder Chris Dorr said.

In the past, the monetary donations have been used to purchase any supplies that may have been missed in the drive.

This year, however, that money will go directly back to schools, for health, hygiene and feminine products, as well as school supply needs down the road.

"Being able to have these in the schools. If they come in and they don't have that stuff, but all their peers do, it's a real negative impact. So by having all these things for the kids, it's a real boost to their ego and to their self-confidence," Runkle said.

The supplies will begin to be delivered next week.