Duluth church donates supplies to Myers-Wilkins Elementary students

“It’s like Christmas to these kids,” Cortnie Bain, coordinator of the Duluth Community School Collaborative Youth Development Program, said.

Duluth Community School Collaborative Youth Development Director Cortnie Bain (left) and Dani Smilanich load a pickup truck Monday with items donated by Lakeview Covenant Church. (Steve Kuchera /

Lakeview Covenant Church in Duluth made a large donation of food and art supplies Monday to Myers-Wilkins Elementary School families through the Duluth Community School Collaborative.

Evan Kolding, the youth minister at the church, and Christina Kolding, the children’s director, had students who attended Myers-Wilkins and they wanted to give back to the families who need it most during distance learning.

“Kids are home more than they’re used to and a lot of kids don’t have resources to go get supplies they need, so we could help with that,” Christina Kolding said.

The church made its first donation a couple of days before schools closed and the second donation was Monday.


Jeff Broman of Lakeview Covenant Church hands a box of donated items to Dani Smilanich of the Duluth Community School Collaborative Monday. (Steve Kuchera /

“We’re not sensing any sign of generosity or giving fatigue,” Evan Kolding said. “We’ll try to do it as many times as they need.”

Lakeview Covenant has a congregation of more than 300 people. Evan Kolding said they reached out to Myers-Wilkins staff asking how they can help and that’s how they got connected to Cortnie Bain, youth development program coordinator at Duluth Community School Collaborative. Bain said the donations have been overwhelming, exciting and inspiring.

“I’m so excited to put our bags together and give them to our kids. It literally makes me want to cry,” she said.

Duluth Community School Collaborative was started in 1998 to help address neighborhood and school needs at Grant Elementary — now known as Myers-Wilkins. The organization has since expanded to Lincoln Park Middle School and Denfeld High School.

Dani Smilanich of the Duluth Community School Collaborative carries two boxes of sidewalk chalk from Lakeview Covenant Church Monday. (Steve Kuchera /

Bain said she and other staff will bag up the supplies and deliver them Thursday to the 120 students in their program.


“It’s like Christmas to these kids,” she said.

Bain said the collaborative will be doing bag drops of food and supplies throughout the summer. To donate, contact Cortnie Bain at or via Facebook at .

Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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