In just a few weeks the kiddos will kick off the new school year, complete with a new teacher, new classroom, and new school supplies.
While going back to school is exciting, thinking about back-to-school shopping might not be so exciting – school supplies can add up quickly! If you have more than one child, school shopping can quickly max out your school supply budget.
Wondering where you can get free school supplies? If you’re in Central Florida – Lakeland or Polk County, Florida – below you’ll find a list of events to get free school supplies near you. The supplies you’ll receive will vary, but often include new backpacks, pencils, rulers, calculators, glue sticks, markers, and more. Plus many of these events are fun Back to School Bash celebrations!
If you are in need of free school supplies, you can also check with your teacher or guidance counselor. Schools often have free back-to-school supplies available in limited quantities. Some of our community care centers and resource centers may also provide supplies directly to the community – visit our list of community resource centers and assistance programs to learn more.
If you’re buying school supplies on a budget, keep an eye out for sales. Publix offers many back to school items BOGO during July including highlighters, markers, colored pencils, notebooks, and more. Staples and Office Depot have penny deals, and I’ve seen some great deals on Amazon right before school begins.
Wondering where to get your school supply list? Most schools have them posted on their website, if you don’t see it try calling the school to ask for a list.
Thank you to our Back to School Guide Sponsor:
Huntington Learning Center of Lakeland
Huntington Learning Center has been helping students get the best education possible for almost 40 years. Whether your child is struggling academically or just wants to get ahead, Huntington can tailor a personalized tutoring or test prep program with one-on-one attention that will achieve results.
Huntington can help the student who:
• Would like to get ahead and be confident in new concepts that will be taught at school
• Is struggling with grades or confidence
• Has trouble understanding homework or new concepts taught in class
• Lacks time management skills or focus at home or in school
• Has been diagnosed with a learning disorder, such as ADHD, dyslexia, or a visual processing problem
• Is preparing to take the SAT/ACT OR needs to raise test scores for college admission or Bright Futures
• Will be taking AP Courses, FSA tests, or other important school exams
• Needs help learning a specific subject
Call Huntington Learning Center of Lakeland today at 863-709-9600 to learn more.
2022 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. Click on the name of any event for more details.
2021 Events – Check Back for Updates
2022 School Supply Drives + Donation Locations
Below you’ll find 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.
Sponsored by: Lakeland Kiwanis Club
Details: The main collection location is at WPCV/WONN/Hall Communications (across from the Lakeland Center) on Wednesday, August 4, 2021 from 7-8:30am. Supplies will be sorted and delivered to local schools later that day. However, there are also 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!
Details: The Polk Schools Tassel Project collects school uniforms for Polk County students. They run a Back to School Uniform Drive to help equip students for a successful school year! Requested Items: Youth/Adult Polos (all colors), Khakis, Denim, Blue Pants, Black Pants, Youth Belts and Youth Shoes. For more information and to locate your nearest drop-off location, contact Amanda Jackson at 863-298-5619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details: Join Parker Street Ministries in a back-to-school drive for backpacks, uniforms, and more. You can give physical donations or monetary donations to support their Start Smart Education Essentials Drive through July 26. Contact Parker Street Ministries for more information.
Details: One More Child is collecting school supplies and backpacks to provide to families in their care. You can drop off physical donations at their Lakeland campus at 1015 Sikes Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33815 or order off their Amazon wish list.
Sponsored by: Bartow ENGAGE Chamber Young Professionals
Details: TBD. Items benefit homeless children identified by Project Hearth. Items most needed this time of year are school supplies including pens (red, black and blue), #2 pencils, notebook paper, composition notebooks, pencil sharpeners, glue bottles, scissors (blunt end), and 2 gallon ziplock bags. In addition, hygiene items are needed such as shampoo, conditioner, bodywash or soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes are much needed. Gift cards for food and gas are also appreciated. Click here for more details.
The Free Teacher Market is a place where Polk County’s public school teachers can visit to obtain free supplies for their classrooms and students. This project is administered by the Polk Education Foundation and made possible by donations of supplies and funds from individuals, business and civic organizations in our community. The store is located at Bartow Middle School. Donations are accepted year round at the PEF Office or Teacher Market. For hours and details, please call 863-519-0519 x609. Please call prior to dropping off donations.
If you know of an event or school supply drive not shown here, please contact us and we’ll add it to our list. Click here if you are an event organizer and would like to add your event to our calendar.
Check out our Back to School Guide for information on School Calendars, After School Programs, Tax Free Shopping, and more.
Check out our Education Guide for Lakeland + Polk County for other education topics including public schools, private schools, homeschooling, tutoring + test prep, school calendars, colleges, and more.