Students to get supplies from Stuff the Bus drive

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By Jesef Williams

Dozens of students who didn’t get the supplies they needed when school began will soon get a helping hand.

United Way of Lancaster County recently held its second annual Stuff the Bus school drive in which residents donated papers, pencils, crayons and other school supplies to collection spots throughout the county.

Those supplies benefit children served through the Lancaster County Outreach Project, which provides resources for neglected and abused children.

Remaining supplies will go to other Lancaster County School District children in need.

“There’s definitely a need,” said Stacy Boyd, administrator for the local United Way.

Last year, Barnett Family Practice led the Stuff the Bus drive, with the local United Way serving as a partner. This time around, United Way spearheaded the effort.

The county’s four recreation departments served as drop-off locations for supplies, as did P&G Duracell and Heath Springs Dental Associates.

Boyd said the drive helped 76 students in the county in 2009, and the aim was to exceed that this time around.

She credits more visibility and promotion for allowing that goal to be met.

Donna Bender, director for the Lancaster County Outreach Project, helped sort supplies last week at the United Way office.

“This is huge,” said Bender, whose group is an initiative of Lancaster County Partners for Youth. “This really helps them (students in need) so they can be on the same level as the other kids in the community.

All of the supplies were taken to United Way office last week. They will be distributed to the local schools beginning this week.

Administrators, guidance counselors and teachers at each school will determine which students need the supplies.

Michelle Crosby, principal at McDonald Green Elementary School, said the Stuff the Bus campaign should be a big help this year.

A lot of families have already called to say they haven’t been able to afford all their child’s school supplies.

“We’re grateful that the community is helping out,” she said. “It lifts a burden off the parents as the kids will be able to get what they need.”

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152