MARINETTE — Throughout the month of June, local residents are being encouraged to drop off health and hygiene supplies at three locations around town, part of a wider effort to help area kids prepare for the next school season. 

Between June 1 and 30, those interested can drop off supplies at Farmers & Merchants Bank & Trust in Marinette; all three Jack’s Fresh Market locations in Marinette and Menominee; and Stephenson National Bank & Trust in Marinette to help the cause. Supplies needed include: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, non-alcohol mouthwash, razors, shaving cream, combs, brushes, hair picks, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, feminine products, laundry supplies, first aid supplies, toilet paper, facial tissues and paper toweling, and the drive is aiming to help nearly 600 kids in the Marinette, Menominee, Peshtigo and Porterfield school districts in need of the products. 

“We’re coming together to make kids’ lives better, one kid at a time,” said one of the drive’s organizers, Matthew Albers.

The Health & Hygiene drive is part of a larger effort by the Marinette Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Academy class to combine the efforts of St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army in preparing families in need for school in the fall on an annual basis. 

The Leadership Academy is a six- to eight-month course run by the Marinette Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce for business professionals. During the class, participants tour area businesses and, as recent class member Albers puts it, “get a better understanding of this community, what we do, how we do it.” 

At the end of the course, Leadership Academy classes are charged to come up with a project that will impact the community in a positive way. Past classes have come up with a number of ideas, including the Empty Bowls fundraiser with Tri-City Area United Way, the Game of Life simulation with local eighth graders and the Radio-A-Thon to benefit the Healthy Youth Coalition.

Albers’ class of 13 individuals was challenged to do the same, and ultimately decided to help two local organizations — the Salvation Army and the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marinette — coordinate their efforts when it comes to providing children in need with school supplies. 

“The class had a lot of cohesiveness,” said Marinette Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and CEO Jacqueline Boudreau. “I think it took them a while to decide what this project was going to look like. Then, after meeting with other area groups, they realized they were working on the same type of project.” 

The Health & Hygiene Drive is one of the first steps in the larger process, and more details about the larger school preparation event in August will be released later this summer. 

“I think it’s great,” Boudreau said. “Any time we can do a collaborative effort is good. ... I’ll be anxious to see the product.” 

For questions about the Health & Hygiene Drive, contact Matthew Albers at 715-735-6617 ext. 4253 or at matthew.albers@fmmarinette.com.