KEARNEY — United Way of the Kearney Area and Dobytown Kiwanis are partnering to help children get ready to go back to school.

Together, they collect school supplies from the community and then distribute them to families in need within United Way’s service area.

Everyone in the Kearney area is welcome to donate school supplies for children grades pre-K-12. Donations of school supplies may be dropped off during the Stuff the Bus event July 17-19 at Walmart or at the United Way office any time before July 30. Additional collection boxes can be found at First National Bank of Omaha and Dollar General (west location) in Kearney.

These school supplies will be used to pack 1,300 backpacks for United Way’s Back-2-School backpack program for children who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

This year, they also are partnering with Buffalo County Goodfellows, Kearney Elks and Noon Kiwanis to include registrations for Coats for Kids. These organizations invite churches, other service organizations and community members to collaborate in an effort to help enhance this program by raising funds for coats to be distributed in the fall.

Anyone wishing to sponsor a coat for a child can submit donations of $20 per coat to United Way.

Registration for the backpacks and coats is happening now through July 19. Registrations easily can be completed online by visiting or calling the United Way office at 308-237-6840.

Volunteers will be working with members of Dobytown Kiwanis and United Way to stuff the backpacks full of school supplies 6-8 p.m. Aug. 3 in the Horizon Middle School Gymnasium.

Families will be able to pick up backpacks on Aug. 4-5 in the Horizon Middle School gymnasium. Aug. 4 pickup will be 5-7 p.m. and Aug. 5 pickup will be 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Coats will be distributed at a later time by Goodfellows.

To volunteer to stuff backpacks on Aug. 3 or hand out backpacks on Aug. 4-5, sign up for a spot by calling the United Way office at 308-237-6840.