Project Fresh Start
Project Fresh Start, supported by Ankeny Community Engagement, is an Ankeny-based volunteer program that has provided free school supplies, backpacks, prom dresses and more to students for over a decade. Project Fresh Start accepts donations for three on-going projects: Days of Giving, Prom Dress Giveaway (Including assisting the Night to Shine prom, and FEWD (Faith and Education Winter Donations).
Days of Giving
This program provides students of Ankeny (grades k-12) with free school supplies and backpacks. Days of Giving is usually held in late July/early August. Financial support for this program may be sent to the Community Engagement Department at 306 SW School Street. Information about receiving will be in the vBackpack and sent home with students.
Last year's 10th annual supply distribution allowed eligible Ankeny students to receive school supplies with the help of volunteers, grants and community's generous donations. The first year it existed, the group gave backpacks to 191 students. In 2015, Project Fresh Start distributed 651 backpacks and over 100 throughout the course of the year. Approximately $18,000 is needed in donations for student supplies.
FEWD (Faith and Education Winter Donations)
In Fall Ankeny families are faced with a significant challenge. Iowa winter has us opening our closet for winter coats, hats, gloves, and boots. But many Ankeny families lack the funds to purchase these items for their children. Project Fresh Start has stepped forward to help receive and coordinate donations of winter clothing. This new project is a joint venture between community church members and our educational community. Information about receiving will be in the vBackpack and sent home with students.
In 2015, the second annual giveaway provided coats, hats, mittens, and other winter wear for more than 210 Ankeny students. All sixteen schools held a winter clothing drive in mid-October. This project was truly a community undertaking as churches, businesses, civic groups, and individuals provided their support. It was a labor love by the project's volunteers.
Prom Dress Giveaway
All Ankeny students should have the opportunity to participate in the Ankeny Prom. Project Fresh Start, with the help of the Ankeny Community Engagement Department, accepts clean, slightly used prom dresses. Dress distribution is typically scheduled in the spring with information in the vBackpack.
Project Fresh Start's goal is to make sure no area student misses their high school prom because they lack the funds to purchase a dress. Because of this philosophy, this program took flight with the Ankeny Community Engagement Department accepting clean, slightly used long, formal dresses, shoes, and accessories. Donations can be made to the Ankeny Service Center at 406 SW School Street Monday-Thursday from 8am-12pm.
In April of 2016, 132 students from more than 18 area high schools selected a dress and took it home free of charge. Due to the generous support of the Ankeny and surrounding communities more than 900 dresses were collected. Of the donated dresses, 323 were given to Easter Seals, The Ankeny Klothing Exchange, and other non-profit organizations. Those remaining are a foundation for next year's giveaway.
Questions about Project Fresh Start may be directed to volunteer and chair, Dave Kissinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Contribute to Project Fresh Start
In order to keep this program going, donations are continually being accepted. Please consider donating to this worthy cause which offers assistance to Ankeny students.
To make a contribution to Project Fresh Start, please send your donation to:
Project Fresh Start
c/o Community Engagement Department
306 SW School Street
Ankeny, IA 50023