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DES MOINES, Iowa — Classes for most students in the metro start next week. Back to School Iowa will have its 16th Annual Back to School Bash on Sunday in Des Moines to help families out with free school supplies. 

“We’re giving out free school supplies to the first 1,500 students that arrive. Still doing haircuts, still doing hair styling, we have a sports jamboree. It’s going to be a good time,” Vice-Chair of Back to School Iowa, Shekinah Young said. “We’re hoping that we can help to prepare our students for the upcoming school year, whether they’re going to be learning at home or in the classroom.” 

Over 40 organizations have pitched in to help with this event, donating items such as backpacks, pens, pencils, folders, and masks.

Co-Founder of the event, Deidre DeJear, said she understands kids are going back to school still in the midst of a pandemic. This year the Polk County Health Department and Drake Pharmacy will be administering vaccines to students 12 and older.

“We want to make sure that vaccines are accessible for individuals who want to use them. We’ll also be giving out face coverings as well, to keep our kids safe,” DeJear said. “The research is not done on the impact that it has on those kids who don’t have vaccinations, so we want to be preventative versus reactive as it relates to their health.”

Back 2 School Bash will be held at a John R. Grubb YMCA from 2-5 pm.

Here is a list of other organizations giving away free school supplies: 

West Des Moines Human Services

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

August 18th and 19th 

Income verification and appointments are required to receive supplies  

Waukee Area Christian School Supply Drive

1155 SE Boone Dr, Waukee, IA 50263

Johnston Partnership Back To School Supply Drive

Orchard Place Annual School Supply Drive

2116 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312


This community-supported drive will provide school supplies and backpacks to more than 800 children who are affected by mental health concerns. 

Supplies last through August 31st