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United Way to hand out school supplies at annual Stuff the Bus campaign

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Stuff the Bus

United Way of Williamson County’s Stuff the Bus school supply drive seeks to steer students on the path to achievement by providing families in need with essential school supplies. 

United Way of Williamson County’s Stuff the Bus school supply drive seeks to steer students on the path to achievement by providing families in need with essential school supplies. 

On Saturday, July 27, more than 100 volunteers will join United Way and its community partners to distribute amassed backpacks and supplies to students at four Big Backpack Giveaway events. Thanks to the generosity of Stuff the Bus sponsors, corporate partners and individual donors, kindergarten-12th grade students can receive a free backpack filled with grade-appropriate supplies necessary for classroom participation and success.

Since mid-spring, United Way has been gathering school supply donations for the annual Stuff the Bus campaign. Last year’s donation drive provided approximately $136,000 worth of backpacks and supplies to 2,480 students.

“This year, our goal is to provide at least 2,500 backpacks to local students,” Debby Rainey, manager of United Way’s Volunteer Center and vice president of strategic initiatives, said. 

Stuff the Bus is a collaborative effort by United Way, Publix Super Markets, General Motors, United Automobile Workers, First Fleet, UPS and GraceWorks Ministries, in addition to many community organizations and churches.

“It is wonderful when our local economy thrives,” Rainey said. “But, we cannot ignore how the rising cost of living affects families in need.” 

The back-to-school season is the second biggest shopping season in the U.S. According to Deloitte’s annual back-to-school survey, families across southern states spend an average of $488 per household preparing for the first day of school.

“Sometimes, caregivers have to choose between bills and school supplies, and we know that teachers often fund school supply shortages from their own paychecks,” Rainey said. “The backpack giveaway eliminates some of the obstacles caregivers face, and it keeps children from starting school at a disadvantage.”

Williamson County residents are welcome to visit the following giveaway sites for free supplies. Backpacks will be distributed while supplies last, and students must be present.

Bethesda United Methodist Church

4812 Bethesda Road, Thompson’s Station

Time: 10 a.m.-noon

Westview United Methodist Church

7107 Westview Drive, Fairview

Time: 10 a.m.-noon

Johnson Elementary School

815 Glass Lane, Franklin

Time: 4-6 p.m.

Liberty Elementary School

600 Liberty Pike, Franklin

Time: 4-6 p.m.

A supply donation list and more information about volunteering or making a monetary donation are available at www.uwwc.org/patriciahart/stuff-the-bus.

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