PRESS RELEASE FOR 2017 UNITED WAY OF GREATER TEXARKANA STUFF THE BUS SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE
More than 30 businesses have collaborated with United Way of Greater Texarkana this year collect school supplies for the United Way of Greater Texarkana’s school supply drive. Visit the new landing page at http://www.texarkanaunitedway.org/Stuff-the-Bus for a site map of all partnering businesses and organizations, collection dates, sponsorship information and links to sign-up for volunteering.
In addition to this, two major collection events will take place the first and second Saturdays in August. On Saturday, August 5th at Sonic locations on Richmond Road; New Boston Road; in Nash, TX; and Arkansas Boulevard, volunteers will be present from 10am-2pm to take up monetary donations and school supplies. On Saturday, August 12th, at the Arkansas-side Walmart and TX-side Walmart, volunteers will be present from 10am-2pm to collect monetary donations and supplies.
“We increased the goal this year to 1,600 backpacks. The need grows year over year and the more supplies and funds we can raise, the more we can do to close the need gap,” says Stuff the Bus chairperson Jennifer Lockman.
“On average, it’s estimated to cost $103 per child to send a student back to school with the necessary school supplies that they need – having the right tools to succeed makes all the difference in the world,” says Lockman.
Last year, Stuff the Bus provided 1,552 backpacks to students in grades K-12 in public schools and students participating in various programs such as Opportunities Heads Start and the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Force’s P.R.I.D.E Academy.
“Stuff the Bus has been able to reach over 9,000 students in 12 different school districts in four counties since its beginning nine years ago. One hundred percent of the funds raised goes back into this program. It’s a goal to eventually reach students as far West as Lamar County mirroring the service area of the United Way of Greater Texarkana. We’ll eventually get there, but it’s going to take the community’s support to make this happen,” says Lockman.
Beyond donating supplies, there are other ways the community can support this project. The committee has added sponsorship levels ranging from $250-$2000+. A complete list of sponsor packet information may be found at http://www.texarkanaunitedway.org/Stuff-the-Bus. Businesses can also participate by having employees volunteer to sort and stuff backpacks the weeks following the school supply drives on August 5th and August 12th.
There is a great need for volunteers on Saturday August 5th and Saturday August 12th as well as the weeks following collections to prepare the backpacks for delivery to the schools. Volunteers can sign up online through signup.com at http://signup.com/go/MNFFzga. There is also a direct link on the United Way website at http://www.texarkanaunitedway.org/Stuff-the-Bus.
“United Way envisions a world where every individual has an opportunity to succeed, and entire communities thrive as a result. We focus on education, financial stability and health, the building blocks for a good life and a strong community. Education is the keystone of those three key tenets the United Way of Greater Texarkana & our Community Impact team supports. The “Stuff-the-Bus” program is a critical piece to insuring a child has the tools needed to flourish,” says Mark L. Bledsoe, UWGT President.
New this year is a gofundme.com account that individuals can donate through using any mobile device.
“We want to make giving as easy and convenient as possible. We understand that not everyone can volunteer on a Saturday or after-hours to stuff backpacks, so this year we’ve added a GoFundMe online giving option for donors to donate with their debit or credit card,” says Lockman. Individuals can donate by searching for “Stuff the Bus 2017” at gofundme.com.
Follow the United Way of Greater Texarkana Facebook page for up-to-date information the 2017 Stuff the Bus school supply drive during the school supply drive July 1st – August 18th.
For more information on Stuff the Bus, please contact the United Way office at (903) 794-3105.