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United Way stuffs buses with school supplies

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 For families having hard times, buying school supplies can be a burden.

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Matt Neet (left) and Sharn Vericella help sort donated school supplies. Donations will go to Columbia and Richmond county schools Monday.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Matt Neet (left) and Sharn Vericella help sort donated school supplies. Donations will go to Columbia and Richmond county schools Monday.

The United Way of the CSRA sought to ease that financial strain with its Stuff the Bus school supply drive Friday. At least 25 companies contributed to the drive at the Kroc Center, said United Way marketing manager Vicki Fricks.

Donated items such as notebooks, pencil pouches and hand sanitizer were distributed equally in boxes for a Richmond County school bus and a Columbia County school bus, which were parked outside.

Afterward, the buses were driven to the two boards of education. On Monday, each board will distribute the supplies to their schools.

Students who need supplies will be able to get them from their school guidance counselor.

“That way the guidance counselors are able to keep a hand on who really needs the assistance,” Fricks said.

She said an average family can spend between $500 and $600 on school supplies, which is a problem for families near the poverty level.

This is the fourth year of Stuff the Bus, Fricks said. It’s usually been held in Walmart parking lots, where volunteers appealed to shoppers to purchase and donate extra supplies. A Stuff the Bus drive will be held at Walmart in Waynesboro today.

In Richmond and Columbia counties, the organization found better results by appealing to companies to conduct internal school supply drives, Fricks said.

Two years ago, a drive at Walmart raised about $8,000 for supplies. Last year, by receiving donations from companies, the United Way received about $19,000 for supplies.

“For two months after the drive, companies were still bringing supplies,” Fricks said.

The excess was shared with Lincoln and Jefferson counties. Everything donated Friday will stay in Richmond and Columbia counties.

The Border Bash Foundation donated $4,000, which will be used to buy more expensive supplies that are not often donated, such as jump drives, calculators and bookbags.

Each company received an alphabetical list of supplies needed.

Among the companies involved was AB Beverage. Julie Hammond, who used donations from co-workers at AB Beverage to buy supplies, said she started at the bottom of the list and worked her way up.

“I think maybe (the bottom is) where they’ll be short of stuff,” she said.

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Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 07/28/12 - 02:01 am
KUDOS to the United Way for its generous...

donation of school supplies.

But kids need more than school supplies. Many, particularly beginning readers, need the individual assistance that volunteer tutors can provide.

VOLUNTEER in your grand-/child's school to help a child learn to read.

scoobynews 07/28/12 - 08:19 am
Hate to sound negative but....

with this much help provided by donations why are so many students still coming into classrooms without supplies?

Radwaste 07/28/12 - 11:11 am
Can't you remember...

...when parents had an interest in their own child's education - when "education" didn't mean "get the money" and wasn't measured in $$ per pupil? When tax dollars went to classrooms and not administrators?

With the obscene amount of money being grubbed (the Lottery is always billed as The Education Lottery), this is a sign that tax dollars are being diverted from the classroom. You might want to look into that.

boomhauer 07/28/12 - 03:07 pm
It's nice to see a ray of

It's nice to see a ray of sunshine every now and then...thanks for the article!

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