For some area families, even the most basic school supplies are an expense they can’t afford.
United Way of the CSRA is asking the community to remember those families as the start of school nears by donating supplies at its annual Stuff the Bus event.
The United Way will park school buses from Richmond and Columbia counties at the Kroc Center on Friday, where they will collect donated supplies. Companies that have been conducting internal supply drives will bring their donations.
“These companies really get behind it,” United Way Marketing Manager Vicki Frick said.
Last year’s event brought in about $24,000 in monetary donations and supplies, which included about 12,500 items.
More than 42 companies supported the event, including Publix, which held its own supply drive, and International Paper, which donated pallets of notebook paper that were worth $1,400, Fricks said.
Cash donations were used to purchase expensive supplies such as calculators and jump drives.
All of the school supplies will be divided between Richmond and Columbia counties, loaded onto the buses and delivered to the boards of education.
The boards distribute the supplies to school guidance counselors, who give the items to children they know need them. Supplies are distributed throughout the school year as children need them, Frick said.
Last year, donations continued to pour in for about a month, she said. Those supplies were shared with Jefferson and Lincoln counties.
A list of the most-needed items is on the United Way’s Web site, uwcsra.org.
Another Stuff the Bus campaign will be held Saturday at Wal-Mart in Waynesboro, Ga. Those donations will benefit children in Burke County.