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It’s time to Stuff the School Bus
July 25, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
For the past decade and more, the Stuff the School Bus program has been collecting school supplies for area children in need.

“The program is to serve the needs of children who do not have all the proper supplies to start school,” said United Way Executive Director Stephanie Black. “We feel that education is a big component of what United Way does in allowing all ages of people opportunities to get the necessary education to succeed in life.”

The Stuff the School Bus program runs through Aug. 2 and media outlets will announce where and when the bus will be for donations. Bus stops are often scheduled by the United Way’s 22 Pacesetter businesses to come to their locations where employees can bring donations.
Needed school supplies include yellow pencils, highlighters, crayons, erasers, three-ring binders and notebook paper, spiral notebooks, glue sticks and a lot more.

Once the supplies are gathered, they will be delivered for distribution to Gering, Scottsbluff, Mitchell, Morrill, Minatare, Bayard, Bridgeport and Banner County Schools.

“We drop the supplies off on Aug. 7 before the start of school,” Black said. “The school counselors will then take appointments with families that are in need of supplies.”

Eighteen gallon totes have been distributed to businesses around the area to accept donations. Forty totes of supplies were collected last year, in addition to 120 cases of notebooks.

“A lot of times individual teachers dig into their own pockets to provide those things for kids in need,” she said. “What we’re trying to do not only help the children in need, but also the teachers.”
Black said United Way also partners with Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska to help their clients. Last year, United Way filled 75 backpacks with school supplies for CAPWN clients.
Monetary donations are also welcomed to purchase additional supplies. New school supplies can be dropped off at the United Way offices, at the Gering Citizen, Fresh Foods, the Carpenter Center, all Valley Bank branches, Walmart, Main Street Market and anywhere the bus is located.

Through the end of August, the Gering Citizen will donate $5 to Stuff the School Bus for every new subscription or renewal.

The bus will stopping in Scottsbluff at the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library on Friday, July 26 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Also on Friday, the CAPWN bus will be at Paul Reed Construction on the Scottsbluff-Gering Highway from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. And on Monday, July 29, the bus will make a stop at the First National Bank in Scottsbluff from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

“This is truly a community effort,” Black said. “It really ties into the theme of our new fundraising campaign, Building a Stronger Community. It just reinforces the fact we all need to work together to make good things happen.”
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