Community-wide effort has school supplies for local parents in need covered.

Need help with school supplies?

This community-wide effort has parents in Dubuque, East Dubuque, and Western Dubuque covered.

DUBUQUE COUNTY, Iowa and EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. – 3,600 students may sound like a big number, but to the staff and volunteers at St. Mark Youth Enrichment, it’s still not enough. 

With school just around the corner, St. Mark wants area families to know if they need help this year, this community has them covered. The organization is providing supplies to students in public and parochial schools in the Dubuque, Western Dubuque, and East Dubuque school districts for parents undergoing financial hardship, who qualify for free or reduced lunch, or who attend a Dubuque Title 1 School. 

“When the pandemic happened, the local need for supplies exploded,” shares Beth McGorry, Director of Donor Relations. “There was a big push from some of our Title I schools to support every student, so we reached out and this community provided in a big way.”

“Parents are still hurting-whether it’s gas prices, grocery bills, whatever, this is one thing we want to make sure that parents just don’t have to worry about.”


McGorry shares that the need has not slowed down since the pandemic either and that she anticipates the need–roughly 3,600 students in 2022–continuing to grow in the coming years.

“Parents are still hurting–whether it’s gas prices, grocery bills, whatever, this is one thing we want to make sure that parents just don’t have to worry about,” she adds.  

That’s why this August, St. Mark is sending supplies for 3,600 students to 30 area elementary, middle, and high schools. Parents just need to reach out to their school’s counselor to be added to the supply list. Additionally, for students at a Title 1 school in Dubuque, St. Mark is providing a bag of supplies for each student.

But just what do supplies for that many kids look like? With support from area donors, St. Mark gets as many new supplies from local businesses as they can at the best rates possible. Annually those total more than 25,000 pencils, 16,000 folders, 9,000 glue sticks, 12,500 notebooks, and more supplies kids need on the first day of school. And since the project started more than 20 years ago, St. Mark has worked with the community to provide supplies to fill 31,000 bags and counting for area kids.  

The organization is partnering with Hartig Drug Stores, and other local sources to get supplies at the best value and to make donations go further.

“There has never been a time when this has been more important for kids,” says McGorry. “When kids have the tools they need to succeed, they’ll be better able to learn, succeed, and believe in themselves. That’s why this is important.” 

To donate, volunteer, learn more, or start a fundraiser at your business visit, email, or call 563-582-6211 ext. 110.

If you need school supplies, please reach out to your school’s counselor to be added to the supply list. St. Mark is committed to sending supplies to area schools and is providing a bag of supplies for each student in local Title 1 Schools. 

Sign-ups for supplies and other community resources will also be available at the Back to School Bash on August 6 from 11 AM-2 PM at Audubon Elementary School in Dubuque. Information about the event and transportation times are available on St. Mark’s Facebook page. Sign-ups will be shared with area counselors.  

Apples for Students-Fill the Bag is a Community Initiative of St. Mark Youth Enrichment. For over 20 years, St. Mark has worked with local donors to provide supplies to more than 31,000 students on their first day of school. Apples for Students-Fill the Bag is sponsored in part by the Field of Dreams, Claudia Marban & Associates, Theisen’s Home-Farm-Auto, Hartig Drug Stores, John Deere Dubuque Works, Five Flags, Brand L Imprints, Dupaco, McCoy Group, and Sedona Staffing.

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St. Mark Youth Enrichment (formerly St. Mark Community Center) is a non-profit organization that has served the Dubuque Community for more than 30 years. St. Mark provides after school programming in Title 1 elementary schools in the Dubuque Community School District as well as programs in Dyersville and Peosta. To learn more, visit