Need school supplies? Back-to-school giveaways in Des Moines metro help struggling families prepare

August is back-to-school month in Iowa. Des Moines-area families have many options to snap up free school supplies, and there's still time to donate supplies to help others.

Support Black Iowa News. Thanks for reading.

By Johnathan Xavier Pugh for Black Iowa News

The summer has flown by, and now classes are set to resume in Des Moines, the state’s largest school district, on Aug. 24. Other school districts are also gearing up to begin classes soon. That means thousands of families are on the hunt for notebooks, paper, crayons, pencils, and pens, as well as uniforms, if required. It’s happening amid economic uncertainty and rising prices for goods and services.

The coronavirus pandemic, supply chain issues, price gouging and the Ukrainian war have fueled spikes in rent, groceries and gas, with no end in sight. Fortunately, many organizations have stepped in to give parents some peace of mind and help families overcome these obstacles to ensure they have the resources their children need to begin the school year successfully.

Source: Getty Images

Fortunately, the state’s Sales Tax holiday began at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5 and ends at midnight on Saturday, Aug. 6, so it's a good time to buy school clothes and shoes under $100 and not pay sales tax.

And, there's still time to donate items to organizations and churches that are holding free school supply giveaways for area families.

Source: Getty Images

Here’s a short list containing some of the upcoming school supply drives and places you can make donations. If you see one missing from this list, email it to Black Iowa News: Also visit the Facebook group Inside Black Iowa to see a list of back-to-school supply drives and other community events. You can also add your own event.

Iowa Soul Food Village – Aug. 6

3330 Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy, Des Moines.

Live entertainment, free backpack and school supplies and free haircuts. The event will be held from noon to 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6 at Harding Hills Hy-Vee.

Ruby B’s Kitchen
Aug 05, 2022 ·

Hope to see you tomorrow at the Iowa Soul Food Village on Saturday August 6th.

J-Rock the Block Back to School – Aug. 21

6169 Northglenn Dr., Johnston

The back-to-school giveaway is open to families in Johnston and surrounding areas, including Des Moines. The event, featuring free haircuts, free food and free supplies will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21 at the Simpson Barn, 6169 Northglenn Drive in Johnston.

Donate: Valley View Backpack & Supply Drive

Learn more.

Valley Community Center will host the “Backpack & School Supply Drive” now through Aug. 7. Residents are highly encouraged to donate school supplies to the center and other necessities year-round. Visit the Facebook page for more information. Visit the website for a complete list of supplies. The list includes items like glue sticks, binders, pencil boxes, sticky notes, and other essential school supplies and will help West Des Moines children.

Back 2 School Bash – Aug. 21

John R. Grubb YMCA, 1611 11th St, Des Moines

The "Back 2 School Bash" will be hosted by Back 2 School Iowa at the John R. Grubb YMCA. The event will take place from 2 p.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21. Families will receive free school supplies, haircuts, food and other resources. The first 1,500 students will receive free supplies. The event also features carnival games, live entertainment, a sports jamboree, etc. Visit for more information.

UCAN Back to School 2022 – Aug. 10

3600 75th St, Urbandale, IA

The "Back 2 School" event hosted by Urbandale Community Action Network will be held from 3 p.m.- 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10. Participants must live in Urbandale and have children enrolled in the Urbandale school system. Participants must pre-register online and present documentation upon registration, including identity, evidence of residency in Urbandale, proof of income, etc. For more help, call 515-334-2684.

Donate: Fill The Bus School Supply Drive – Aug. 6

Donate to Hy-Vee and Iowa Realty's "Fill The Bus" campaign. Purchase school supplies to drop in boxes at the front of Hy-Vee stores. The event will be held from 6 a.m.-4 p.m. on Aug. 6. The donations will go to local schools.

Back-to-School Supplies Giveaway – Aug. 5

3615 University Ave., Des Moines

The event will held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug 5. Pick up free supplies at Redeemer Church, 3615 University Ave. in Des Moines.

This list may be updated. Last update: Aug. 6.

Bio: Johnathan Xavier Pugh is an energetic hombre wanting to write to help motivate people and change the world.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top