United Way and Office of Ed Launch School Supply Collection Drive

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July 7, 2023

On Wednesday, the United Way of Santa Cruz County said it had teamed up with the County Office of Education for a school supply collection drive.

The campaign, called “Stuff the Bus,” seeks to provide less fortunate children with the items they’ll need to succeed in their studies.

“Stuff the Bus is about more than school supplies,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Faris Sabbah said in a release. “It’s about providing every student with the opportunity to step into the classroom ready to achieve and thrive, regardless of individual circumstances.”

The United Way says they’re aiming to raise at least $25,000 this month to meet the anticipated need.

The Stuff the Bus initiative will culminate with a Stuff-A-Thon on August 5, where volunteers will work to fill backpacks with donated supplies, so they’re ready for distribution.

Sabbah said with many children at risk of falling behind academically, socially, and economically, the backpacks full of items—which are given out during the year on an as-needed basis—can make a huge difference.

This is particularly relevant given the natural disasters that hit the county in recent months.

In the 2022-23 school year, hundreds of backpacks were distributed to students in the Pajaro Valley who were impacted by the winter floods.

“Amidst the devastating aftermath of the winter storms, now more than ever has Stuff the Bus been a requested service to support students and their families,” said Keisha Browder, CEO of United Way of Santa Cruz County. “Each pencil, each notebook, each act of collecting school supplies, is a small and mighty step towards rebuilding their futures.

“This sends the message to our students that we, as a community, care about their future – and we are grateful for the support of our donors, volunteers, and community partners who empower this work.”

More than 2,800 students in Santa Cruz County face homelessness and other significant hardships, making it challenging to have the necessary supplies when school kicks-off later this year.

Sponsors for this year’s initiative include Bay Federal Credit Union, Comcast, Courtyard by Marriott Santa Cruz, David Lyng Real Estate, Driscoll’s Inc., Dignity Health, Lookout Santa Cruz, New Leaf, Nordic Naturals, Ow Family Properties, Santa Cruz County Bank, Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, UPS, Santa Cruz Warriors and UC Santa Cruz.

For more information about Stuff the Bus, and to make a donation, visit www.unitedwaysc.org/stb.

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