By noon Friday, the United Way of the CSRA’s Stuff the Bus school supply drive had attracted as many people requesting school supplies as those dropping them off.
Vicki Frick said she had so many requests that she made a sign designating the area as a donation point and directing parents who needed supplies to call the school boards in Richmond and Columbia counties, which will distribute the supplies.
“That just goes to show the need is really out there,” said Frick, the marketing manager for the United Way. She said last year’s campaign brought in nearly $24,000 worth of school supplies.
“We’re hoping to exceed that this year,” Frick said.
Tables in a room at the Kroc Center Augusta were lined with boxes marked “Richmond,” while underneath were just as many boxes labeled “Columbia.”
Volunteers moved back and forth between the tables, filling the boxes equally with school supplies that were being brought in by individuals and businesses. Once filled, the boxes were loaded onto school buses to be delivered to the boards of education. The boards will distribute the supplies to schools within their counties, who will then give them to the students who need them.
Margaret Taylor, of the CSRA Credit Union, brought in a donation from her company Friday morning.
With $250 her corporate office donated to the cause, Taylor shopped four or five different stores for supplies.
“I had a budget of how much I could spend, and I went 13 cents over, so I maximized every penny,” she said.
The company also offers each employee a service day every year, which allows employees to take off work in order to volunteer. Taylor chose Friday as her service day, so after donating the supplies she spent the day sorting and stacking. She planned to stay until the event was over.
“We brought things last year and they were busy bees in here running around,” she said. “I thought this is so fun.” Frick said she had more volunteers this year, due in part to nearly 20 volunteers from Hilton hotels. Ten were from the Doubletree.
Jamicka Scott, a bartender and server in the restaurant at the Doubletree, said she was surprised by how many donations the event brought in by lunchtime.
“I didn’t know this many people donated as much as they did,” she said.
The United Way will conduct a second Stuff the Bus drive at Wal-Mart in Waynesboro on Saturday. All supplies collected will be distributed to children in Burke County.