Back-To-School Bashes, Free School Supplies, Donation Drives in Polk County

2017-07-28T23:57:19+00:00 July 17, 2017|Education, Family Friendly Events, Freebies & Deals, Summer Fun|

With the first day of school less than a month away, we know all of you parents are starting to think about supplies, uniforms, new shoes, new teachers, and all the other things that go along with the start of a new school year. Lakeland Mom has a list of anything and everything related to going back to school this fall, including free back-to-school bash events, free school supply giveaways, and Stuff the Bus school supply drives to help be sure all children have the supplies they need to succeed in school.

Back-To-School Events & Free School Supplies

We’re adding all the Back-to-School Bashes and Free School Supply events in Polk County to our calendar as we find out about them. All upcoming events are shown below.

School Supply Drives & Donation Locations

Here in Polk County, there are many students and schools in need of supplies when the school year begins in August. In addition to the traditional school supplies that are needed such as pens, pencils, wide rule paper, folders with prongs, crayons, markers, backpacks, glue and erasers, they can also use copy paper, facial tissue, index cards, highlighters, hand sanitizer, zip lock bags, pencil boxes, and backpacks.

We’ve put together a list of local supply drives where you can donate supplies and make a difference in a child’s life. Even if you are already stretching a dollar to buy supplies for your own family, there are still ways to donate without breaking the bank – buy items you need during BOGO sales at Publix and donate the extra set, or check out the 1 penny deals at Staples and Office Depot.

Stuff The Bus

Sponsored by: Lakeland Kiwanis Club
Details: The main collection location is at WPCV/WONN/Hall Communications (across from the Lakeland Center) on Wednesday, August 2 from 7-8:30am. Supplies will be sorted and delivered to local schools later that day. However, there are OVER 60 collection boxes already placed all over the Lakeland community where you can donate school supplies. We can almost guarantee you can find a box somewhere near you. Boxes will be picked up the week of August 1, so get your supplies into a box before then!

stuff the bus lakeland free school supplies

Stuff the Bus Bartow

Sponsored by: Bartow ENGAGE Chamber Young Professionals
Donation Location: Bartow Chamber, 510 North Broadway Avenue • Bartow, Florida 33830
Details: Begins Monday, July 10 and runs through Friday, August 18. Items benefit homeless children identified by Project Hearth. The items most needed this time of year are school supplies including backpacks, zip binders (Trapper Keepers), paper, 3-prong folders, spiral notebooks and calculators (scientific and graphing). In addition, school uniforms, gift cards for food, medical and dental services are much needed. Although hygiene items such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, hair brushes and feminine products are always appreciated, the most dire need at this time are the school supplies. Click here for more details.

Our Favorite School “Supplies”

These are a few items that we find especially useful during the school year!

(Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Your purchase helps support our website and allows us to provide you with all this great local information for free. Read our disclosure policy here.  We only recommend products that we use and love ourselves.)

Lakeland free school supplies back to school bash

Easy Lunchboxes

These keep me sane when it comes to my least favorite school year task – packing lunches. They have 3 compartments, perfect for a main item, fruit/veggie, and side. Once it’s full, my job is done!

You can even include dividers (see below) if you need even more individual spaces. For just $13.95 you get 4 of them, and they fit nicely into most lunchboxes. They stack inside each other for storing with all the lids on top. They are also DISHWASHER SAFE.  (Note that they are not leakproof – I’ve used Glad press and seal on a few occasions, otherwise I just don’t put anything liquid inside). Click here to get a set and make lunch assembly a little easier!

Lakeland free school supplies back to school bash

Silicone Cupcake Liners

These are reusable silicone cupcake liners, but they are perfect for holding small food portions within an Easy Lunchbox. See the photo below for how these are used together. Colorful, fun, functional, and you get 12 for only $5.99! Click here to get yours from Amazon.

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Mabel’s Labels

A great variety of labels, including allergy labels for food containers, shoe labels, clothing labels, bag tags, small labels, big labels, and even make really unique ID bracelets that are water resistant and disposable, perfect for field trips and theme parks. If you’re looking for labels that are themed and fun, Mabel’s Labels are for you. The best part – FREE SHIPPING! Click here to see what Mabel’s Labels has to offer.

Label Your Stuff

School supply labels, allergy labels, clothing labels, bag tags, and a variety of sizes. Their labels are a little more simple in design, which is ideal if you prefer something plain, or need to share items among siblings (although they offer a sibling set – shown below). Click here to shop Label Your Stuff and take 15% off any order of $25 or more through July 31.

Lunch containers, water bottles, special items – they all need a label! We even use these on our sports items. I’ve ordered from Mabel’s Labels and Label Your Stuff and can recommend both of them. I’ve got some that have been on containers for 2-3 years and likely through the dishwasher over 100 times and are still going strong!

Magnetic Belts

If you have a little one that is required to wear a belt to school (or just likes to), a magnetic belt is the perfect solution to make it easy on them! This was a “must have” for preschool and kindergarten in my house. Check out the ones we’ve used from Amazon – they hold up well and can be set to almost any waist size.


Primary offers classic clothes in a huge variety of colors. No logos, no slogans, no sequins, just soft fabrics. Perfect for uniform clothes that can’t include a logo or any other design. Jackets, shorts, t-shirts, leggings, long sleeve shirts, and much more. Check out

Florida Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

Scheduled for August 4-6, 2017 – we’ve got all the details you need to know to save some $$ on your back to school shopping!  These are dates that you can purchase clothing, shoes, backpacks, and school supplies without paying the sales tax (7% here in Polk County). Click here to read the important details for this year’s event.

Florida Back to School Tax Free Shopping

If you know of an event or school supply drive not shown here, please leave a comment below and we’ll add it to our list.

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