PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local shelter’s school drive is providing backpacks and school supplies to 400 children this week. 

It’s part of the annual Back to School Drive put on by Rose Haven, Portland’s only day shelter and community center serving women, children and gender diverse people. 

Shirley Isadore brought three of her grandkids to pick out backpacks and collect school supplies as part of Rose Haven’s annual Back to School Drive. August 18, 2021 (KOIN).

“I am very grateful for Rose Haven’s supporting the school supplies for my grandsons,” said Shirley Isadore, who brought with her three grandchildren to pick school supplies.

Rose Haven serves people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Portland. 

Last year, the Oregon Department of Education tallied more than 21,000 homeless students between kindergarten and high school.

“This is an annual event for us that we’re just so excited to provide. This year, we have about 400 children signed up for brand new school supplies from about 100 different families,” said Liz Starke, Rose Haven’s Development Director. “So it’s a really exciting day for us because what we try to do is make sure that every single supply is brand new so we can promote dignity for these kids.”

A stack of backpacks laid out on a table is made available for children during Rose Haven’s annual Back to School Drive. August 18, 2021 (KOIN).

All the students are pre-registered to pick up the supplies and can even handpick their own backpacks, Starke said. The nonprofit has been hosting the drive since July 4 and are now dispersing those supplies to the kids this week, Wednesday and Thursday.

Rose Haven is also continuing its fundraising efforts to open a new, expanded facility to bring guests back indoors, re-establish programs and increase capacity to welcome and serve more community members. 

The new facility will allow them to move from a church basement of 3,000 square feet to a former coffee shop and roasting facility of about 10,000 square feet. Since the coronavirus pandemic, Rose Haven has had to hold many of its services outdoors. The new facility will enable them to bring their guests back indoors.

So far, they’ve raised about half of their $3 million goal. 

You can find out more about the new facility and how to donate on Rose Haven’s website