Helping Hands needs school supplies

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Helping Hands at Century Middle School in Park Rapids needs help from the community to make sure every student has what they need to succeed in the classroom.

Rhonda Lageson, who heads up the program, said over 230 backpacks with school supplies were given away to kids last week with money from grants and donations from the community including the Hewitt Foundation and Salvation Army.

“I want every kid who comes to school to have the supplies they need,” she said. “We had a great turnout and wonderful helpers. If any family didn’t make it to the event last week and needs help with that, they can come and see me at the PTA/Helping Hands table at the open house.”

The open house will be held at Century School from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31.

Items needed in the classroom include headphones required for each student in the computer lab, Ticonderoga brand pencils, one-inch and two-inch three ring binders, large or small markers and large Expo pens for writing on white boards. They may be dropped off at the Helping Hands/PTA table at the open house or at the Century School office next week from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


“I’ll be at a table near the entrance,” Lageson said.

In addition to school supplies, Lageson needs items to give out to students, such as chapstick, bars of soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, hair brushes, large tubes of toothpaste, stick or roll-on antiperspirant or deodorant and underwear from size 4 to adult XL. Gift cards to purchase these items are also welcome and may be sent to Helping Hands, Century School, 501 Helten Ave., Park Rapids, MN, 56470 or brought to the school during regular hours.

Lageson said it is the community’s support that makes Helping Hands work.

“This community is so helpful,” she said. “I couldn’t do this without them. The hospital collects socks for me, churches and banks make tie blankets, the Park Rapids quilting club makes quilts for us, people knit hats and mittens and so many others donate too. When it gets closer to winter we’ll start taking winter coats and boots in good condition, but we’re no longer taking other clothing to give to students.”

The new logo, designed with help from Jostens, will unite the school district's branding imagery for the first time.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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