Land O'Lakes helps Pine Island students get a "Running Start for School"

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Land O’ Lakes plant manager Bill Taylor along with staff members, from left to right, Julie Ware, Sara Benda, Melissa Hessenius, and Linnea Weiser, hold up some of the backpack supplies that will be distributed to eligible students at Pine Island Public School on August 14. Not pictured are representatives from United Way of Olmsted County, Erin Reidelbach and Renee Schaefer, who also helped organize the “Running Start for School” project in Pine Island.

By Audra DePestel

PINE ISLAND – Land O’ Lakes employees gathered at the Pine Island American Legion on August 7 to help fill close to 200 backpacks with school supplies that will be donated to eligible students who have already been selected by Pine Island Public School system. Land O’Lakes teamed up with “Running Start for School,” sponsored by United Way of Olmsted County, to help students in need start the school year with all their supplies.

The backpacks will be distributed at the school on Thursday, August 14, at 10 a.m. This is the first year Pine Island was able to be a distribution location thanks to the support of Land O’ Lakes who raised funds to help purchase the supplies needed for the program. Melissa Hessenius, spokesperson for Land O’ Lakes, said they were looking for community projects to get involved in when she decided to contact United Way of Olmsted County, which led to their participation in the “Running Start for School” program. Prior to Land O’ Lakes’ collaboration with the program, eligible Pine Island students had to go to Rochester to get their donated supplies.  

This is the 14th year United Way of Olmsted County has sponsored “Running Start for School.” Last school year, United Way, along with other drive and drop site partners and volunteers, helped 4,259 Olmsted County students get school supplies. They said that the 2014-15 school year, more than 8,000 students in the county may not be able to afford supplies.

Nearly 30 organizations have already signed up to serve as drive and drop sites for the program this year. Drive and drop site partners are organizations that host a backpack and school supply drive and/or provide a public drop site for community members to donate backpacks and school supplies. For more information contact the United Way of Olmsted County at 507-287-2000.

 

 

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