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Operation Backpack

Please check back soon for more information about Operation Backpack 2017!

Each year, United Way of Mahaska County partners with the Salvation Army, SIEDA, local area school districts, our business community, and other local agencies to help organize Operation Backpack. Together, as one community, we help ready our students for the upcoming school year, by providing essential supplies needed by our community’s children. Our goal is to make it easier for students to excel in their education, by ensuring they have all the tools they need to suceed.

Applications for Operation Backpack are not available at this time. Please check back for more information.
Families may apply for one backpack per student, preschool through 12th grade. Free backpacks and supplies will only be given to children of families at no more than 200% of the federal poverty level. We try to give backpacks to as many children as possible, based on the greatest need determined by family income.

Applications will be available at the United Way, SIEDA, Crisis Intervention Services, or Love INC offices, in the Oskaloosa Shopper, and End of Month Meal locations.  Applications should be returned to SIEDA. Applications may be mailed or returned in person to the Oskaloosa SIEDA location listed below. NOTE: Please do not return to the school district or other agencies!  

Operation Backpack

c/o SIEDA PO Box 28

114 North Market Street

Oskaloosa, IA 52577


Get Involved

We are always looking for groups and individuals to get involved with Operation Backpack On average each stuffed backpack costs about $20. Contributions can be made in the form of supply donations and/or funds to help purchase additional supplies needed. In 2013, United Way helped 16,100 children nation-wide with the Operation Backpack program. In Mahaska County alone, Operation Backpack has distributed over 1,000 backpacks in the last three years. If you would like to support Operation Backpack and school children in your community, we also encourage sponsoring a certain number of students by donating a monetary gift to support the program. These donations are tax deductable, and can be delivered in person or by mail to:


Attn: Operation Backpack

c/o United Way of Mahaska County

500 High Avenue West

Oskaloosa, IA 52577


Each year, local businesses host boxes for Stuff the Bus, which supplement the Mahaska County community supply drive. If your business would like to be a community collection site for the school supplies, contact United Way of Mahaska County, and we will provide you with a collection box. Our contact information is listed below.

If you want to help local children get ready for the 2017-2018 school year by helping provide them with the tools they need for their first day of class, contact our office by calling us at 641.673.6043 or via email at