2018 Edition: School Supply & Health Screening Events in the Des Moines Area

2018 Edition: School Supply & Health Screening Events in the Des Moines Area

As we’re out and about, my kids and I have noticed that school supplies are starting to take over the shelves of local retailers. According to a 2018 Deloitte survey parents plan to spend an average of $510 between July and September on back to school items. Back to school time can be particularly challenging for families who are struggling financially.  Fortunately, there are several area businesses, organizations and churches receiving donations and giving away school supplies in Des Moines and surrounding areas.

Please note: This is a working list, so check back often for updates and additions. Know of an event that needs to be added to our list? Email and let us know! And, find additional resources in our Back To School Guide

Want to lend a hand to students in need this school year? Need help getting your school supplies or a health screening? These events in the Des Moines metro area can help!


Project Fresh Start

Any Ankeny Schools or Ankeny Christian Academy students are welcome to take part in Project Fresh Start to prepare for the 2018-2019 school year. Free school supplies and backpacks will be provided to students. Financial support for this program may be sent to the Community Engagement Department at 306 SW School Street. For more information, call the Ankeny Community Education office at 289-3960 or project coordinator Dave Kissinger at (515) 491-2049 or dkiss806@juno.com.

When: TBD

Where: Neveln Center, 406 SW School Street, Ankeny, IA Room 303


Clive Community Services Item of the Month

Each month Clive Community Services spotlights one item of particular need.  During the month of July, they are collecting school supplies.  You can drop off items at Clive Community Services or at a number of places around town including: the Clive Public Library, Bankers Trust, Middendorf Insurance, TBL Print, WDM Elks Lodge, Woodlands Creek Active Retirement Community, Sweers Family Chiropractic or Lincoln Savings Bank. For additional information contact director@clivecommunityservices.com.

When: July 1-31, 2018

Where: Clive Community Services 2190 NW 82nd St, Suite A, Clive

Des Moines

CROSS Ministries Annual Back-to-School Giveaway

Every August CROSS Ministries gives away new backpacks filled with grade appropriate school supplies to students in Headstart through 12th grade. There are no geographic boundaries associated with this giveaway. They serve the first 1,600 children until the supplies are given away.  Parents should bring an ID for all members of the household including children. Examples of IDs include a social security card, school ID, DHS printout, medical card, etc. For questions call the CROSS office at (515) 279-9998.

When: Saturday, August 4, 2018 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Where: Polk County River Place, 2309 Euclid Avenue, Des Moines, IA

Back 2 School Bash

During this one-day event, over 800 students will walk away with school supplies and will have the opportunity to get health screens and immunizations free of charge. The Bash also features a talent show, basketball tournament, carnival, food vendors and information from various community organizations. It costs just $14 to sponsor a child’s school supplies. Click here to sponsor a child’s school supplies today!

When: Sunday, August 19, 2018 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm

Where: John R. Grubb YMCA, 1611 11th Street, Des Moines, IA

Orchard Place 2018 School Supply Drive

Today, many parents are challenged to provide basic needs for their families, and the expense of school supplies can be a real hardship for them. That is why Orchard Place, mental health experts for Iowa’s children, is hosting their annual school supply drive. By contributing to the annual Orchard Place School Supply Drive, you can make a difference and help create a positive educational experience for the more than 600 children they expect to serve this year. For questions concerning the school drive, please contact Brandie Broadhead at bbroadhead@orchardplace.org or call 515-287-9621.

When: Wednesday, June 13 to Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Where: Supplies can be dropped off at the Orchard Place Campus, Variety Family Services Center, 925 SW Porter Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50315.


Johnston Back to School Health and Resource Clinic

JCSD families in need of assistance preparing for the 2018-2019 school year are invited to attend a free health and resource clinic to make sure their children are ready to start school in August. Community organizations and healthcare professionals will be available to assist with needed screenings and connecting with area resources. School district personnel will also be available for any questions in regard to registration, transportation, lunch, athletics and more. For more information, contact Johnston Community Education at 278-0552 or the Johnston Partnership at 868-1357.

When: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm

Where: Johnston Middle School, 6501 NW 62nd Avenue, Johnston, IA


Back To School Clinic & School Supplies

Urbandale Community Action Network (UCAN) has partnered with Urbandale School District and the Polk County Health Department to sponsor their annual immunization clinic. Typically, immunizations, eye and dental exams, and school physicals are offered. Any child who participates in the health clinic, and is in need, receives a backpack filled with school supplies for their appropriate grade.  If you are interested in filling backpacks with supplies or would like to donate to support this effort, please email UCAN at Info@UrbandaleNetwork.org.

When: Thursday, August 2, 2018 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm

Where: Urbandale Middle School, 7701 Aurora Avenue, Urbandale, IA


Back to School Family Resource Fair

Hosted by the Waukee Community School District health screenings will be provided to kids in pre-school to 12th grade.  Health services provided include: school physicals, including pre-school and sports physicals, dental screenings, vision screenings, immunizations, lead testing and haircuts.  There will also be community resources, plus FUN stuff for the kids and a free meal will be served. This event is open to all Waukee Community School District Families. For more information call (515) 987-2761.

When: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm

Where: Timberline School, 2605 LA Grant Parkway, Waukee, IA.

West Des Moines

School Supplies & Physicals

West Des Moines Human Services holds a school supply distribution for qualifying, low-income West Des Moines residents in August each year. Income verification and appointments are required to receive supplies. Please call 222-3660 or stop into by the office beginning July 9, 2018 to schedule an appointment. Please consider donating supplies or making a cash contribution which allows WDHS to purchase more items in bulk. Please drop off your donation by August 13 to their office at 139 6th Street in West Des Moines or contact them to arrange a donation pick-up.

When: August 14, 15 and 16, 2018 by appointment

Where: 139 6th Street, West Des Moines, IA  50265

School physicals and immunizations will be offered to qualifying low-income, uninsured or under-insured youth at the Mae E. Davis Free Clinic.  Please call 515-222-3660 for additional information.  (No appointment necessary.)

When:   Walk-ins welcome on Tuesday evenings between 7:00 and 8:30 pm.

Where: Mae E. Davis Free Clinic in the Eddie Davis Community Center, 1312 Maple Street, West Des Moines.



If you know of a Back to School event that needs to be added to this list, please leave a Comment or email it to nicole@dsm4kids.com.

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