Project Fresh Start
Project Fresh Start, supported by Ankeny Schools Community Engagement, is an Ankeny-based volunteer program that has provided free school supplies, backpacks, prom dresses and winter outerwear to students for over a decade. Project Fresh Start accepts donations for three on-going projects: Days of Giving (school supply giveaway), Prom Dress Giveaway, and FEWD (Faith and Education Winter Donations).
Days of Giving (School Supplies and Backpacks)
This program provides students of Ankeny, Ankeny Christian Academy, and homeschool students (grades k-12) with free school supplies and backpacks. Days of Giving is usually held in late July/early August. Information about the giveaway will be in the Virtual Backpack and sent home with students.
The first year the giveaway was held, the group gave backpacks and supplies to 191 students. In 2021, Project Fresh Start distributed over 700 backpacks and supplies. Approximately $20,000 is needed in donations for student supplies each year. If you’re interested in donating supplies, please see this list of school supplies to make sure that your donation can be used.
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 scarves. However, 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 project is a joint venture between community church members and our educational community. Information about the giveaway will be in the vBackpack and sent home with students.
In 2020, the giveaway provided coats, hats, mittens, and other winter outerwear to just under 200 Ankeny students. All sixteen schools held a winter clothing drive to collect for this event. This project was truly a community undertaking as churches, businesses, civic groups, and individuals provided their support. It was a labor of love by the project’s volunteers.
Prom Dress Giveaway
Project Fresh Start’s goal is to make sure no Ankeny 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, new or gently used formal dresses, shoes, and accessories. This event is typically scheduled in February or March with information in the vBackpack.
In 2019, 136 students from more than 21 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 and added to inventory. Any remaining items after the event are a foundation for next year’s giveaway.
*Donations for this program are on hold at this time. Please check back for future updates.
Questions about Project Fresh Start may be directed to the Community Engagement department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider donating to this worthy cause that offers assistance to Ankeny students.
To volunteer for a Project Fresh Start event, you must have a background check completed through Ankeny Community School District. Please send full name and birth date to both of the following emails with the subject heading “PFS Volunteer” to:
*Important: Due to the relocating of various departments, anyone wishing to make a monetary contribution to Project Fresh Start must make sure it states “Donation” in the Memo line on the check and send to the below address:
Project Fresh Start
Attn: Community Engagement
1102 N. Ankeny Blvd, Door 15S
Ankeny, IA 50023