Raeker donates school supplies

This article submitted by Molly Connors on 9/10/96.

Bill Raeker, like many retired folks, has a hobby.

His hobby, however, is a bit unusual. Raeker donates school supplies to churches, schools, clubs and community centers throughout the state. Paynesville Community Center is one of the places he donates to.

Raeker brings van-fuls of crayons, paper, folders, pens, pencils, three-ring binders, scissors, glue ÷ everything a kid needs for school. He puts much of his donation together in packets. For younger school kids, he includes crayons and glue, along with paper, pencils and folders. For high schoolers, he puts together paper, folders and three-ring binders.

While Raeker was in his last teaching position at Anoka Ramsey Community College, he moved his office to the garage. As a teacher, Raeker received tests, handouts and textbooks from publishers. All of the paperwork came to him in three-ring binders. When he moved, Raeker noticed that he had an abundance of binders. He figured that someone could use them.
Raeker had a friend who worked for a printer. The friend was able to get paper that would have been thrown away if Raeker hadnât wanted it.

Raeker is "amazed ... shocked at the stuff thrown away in our society." There are pens that have the wrong names, folders bearing out of date logos and reams of paper that are usually thrown away.

About once a week, Raeker goes on ãkind of a run.ä He picks up supplies of all sorts from every sort of business. He has one major supplier of paper.

He also stops at copy shops, like Insty Prints. There, they sometimes have jobs they did wrong, or maybe someone only wanted 300 copies and the ream had 500 sheets of paper.

He works with many different organizations: eight public schools, where his donations ãoften end up in the art room.ä He also helps a battered women's shelter, the Boys and Girls Club in St. Paul, the St. Joseph's Home for children and many churches.

Of all the places Raeker donates to, he likes the women's shelter the best. However, he brings the "cream of the crop," all the best stuff, to the Paynesville Community Center. Raeker is impressed with Ruth Aulick, who runs the Community Center.

"She is the most compassionate ... the most efficient" person he works with, Raeker said.

Raeker lives in Coon Rapids, but spends some weekends in his cabin near the Five-Mile Bridge.

Raeker also makes birthday and Christmas packages for children. These include stickers, gum, candy and small toys. When Raeker's sources donât or canât donate enough supplies, he buys supplies out of his own pocket.

With the recent area code change (612 to 320), Raeker might have a good supply of paper, pens and folders with the wrong area codes.

To help Raeker with his donations or to help the Paynesville Community Center, contact Aulick at the community center.

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