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Back-To-School Bashes and Free School Supplies in Lakeland + Polk County

Back to School Events Free School Supplies Lakeland Polk County FL

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.

Don’t miss our full Back to School Guide including the 2023 – 2024 School Calendar, After School Programs, dates for Florida’s Tax-Free Shopping Week, and more.

2023 Back-To-School Bash Events + Free School Supplies Near You

**2023 UPDATES IN PROCESS – CHECK BACK SOON!** 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.

1. Browse the list by Date – first you’ll see full Calendar of school supply giveaways listed by date, covering all of Polk County.
2. Browse the list by City – we’ve sorted the events by the cities in Polk County to help you find the Back to School events closest to you.

2023 School Supply Giveaway Locations Near You

Are you looking for free school supplies near you? Click the name of any city below to expand the list and see events in your city. {TIP – you can always filter our main calendar by city, event type, holiday, and venue/organizer using the small funnel icon at the top}

2023 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.

Polk Schools Tassel Project

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, visit the Polk Schools Tassel Facebook page.

Stuff The Bus

Sponsored by: Lakeland Kiwanis Club
Details: The main Stuff the Bus collection location is at WPCV/WONN/Hall Communications (across from the Lakeland Center) on Wednesday, August 9, 2023 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!

One More Child School Supply Drive

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 by July 14.

Stuff the Bus Bartow

Sponsored by: Bartow ENGAGE Chamber Young Professionals
Details: Stuff the Bus Bartow donations 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.

Free Teacher Market

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.

Parker Street Ministries Start Smart Education Essentials Drive

Details: Join Parker Street Ministries in Lakeland in a back-to-school drive for backpacks, uniforms, and more. You can give physical donations or monetary donations, or shop their Amazon wish list to support their Start Smart Education Essentials Drive through July 28. Contact Parker Street Ministries for more information.

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.

Education Guide

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.