United Way helps kids get ready for school

The United Way of Greater Augusta is sponsoring the Stuff the Bus event going on all weekend in the parking lots at the Waynesboro and Staunton Wal-Marts Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m until 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Executive Director Cynthia Pritchard was on the scene Friday morning receiving the various items people were donating. “Other parts of the country also do Stuff the Bus on their tax-free weekends. We figure as long as we aren’t spending money on taxes, we might as well use that money towards helping children learn,” Pritchard said.

Stuff the Bus is an even that aims to collect school supplies for children in our area. The list that is being handed out at the Wal-Mart entrance is one that was designed by the schools as a sort of guide as to what the people should purchase. “There’s nothing worse than going into the first day of school unprepared because you cannot afford the necessary supplies,” Pritchard said. “This is for economically-disadvantaged families so that when they get to school they are ready to learn and the teachers can begin teaching on day one.” 

Thirty-five percent of children in the Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro areas enter school unprepared. Forty-one percent of children in the same areas receive free or reduced lunch because they come from a low-income family. Stuff the Bus gives the family one less thing to worry about. 

UPS has joined in to help with the cause and is providing trucks to transport the donations to a warehouse. When it is time for school to start, organizations that are involved in Stuff the Bus, such as the Central Shenandoah Office on Youth, will host an event for the children. UPS trucks will then deliver the supplies at the event.

“Not having supplies just adds another barrier between the less fortunate kids and the others, this is a way to help a little with that,” said Pritchard. The supplies list has everything from crayons, pencils and pens to liquid hand soap, notebooks, tissues and Ziplock bags. “We hope to even have some backpacks for the kids when everything is said and done,” Pritchard said.

Story by Jenny Hypes. Jenny can be reached at jenny.hypes@emu.edu.

Keywords: staunton virginia, waynesboro virginia

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