In just over a week, school buses in Richmond and Columbia counties will be packed with students ready for their first day of the 2017-18 school year.
Two of those buses Friday were loaded with something else – school supplies. Lots of school supplies.
The United Way held its annual Stuff the Bus at the Augusta Kroc Center. A similar event was held last Saturday in Waynesboro.
Businesses and individuals from across the Augusta area dropped off donations at the Kroc Center, where dozens of volunteers helped sort supplies and load them onto Richmond and Columbia County buses.
One company donated 80,000 items.
“It was a mad house in here this morning,” United Way marketing and communications manager Vicki Fricks said.
Following the collections, supplies were taken to their respective board of education offices and guidance counselors will distribute them to children they know are in need of supplies. Fricks said donations typically continue coming in until November.
Supplies collected after the beginning of the school year will be donated to outlying school districts such as Lincoln and Jefferson counties.
“My whole bus is just about full,” Columbia County bus driver Tony Taylor said.
Last year, the United Way collected $48,000 in school supplies. In 2015, over $28,000 worth of items were collected.
There is still one more opportunity to donate school supplies to the United Way at the Walmart on Bobby Jones Expressway on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.