Approximately 16% of children in Bucks County, Pennsylvania struggle to have even their basic needs, like food and shelter, met. For those children, required back to school supplies can be out of reach.
Wells Fargo, Sesame Place®, Cummins, PECO, and Bank of America are joining forces with nonprofits United Way of Bucks County, Bucks County Housing Group, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County, Cradles to Crayons, and Quakertown Alive to change that through a project called Stuff the Bus. Each business will both sponsor and provide volunteer support for Stuff the Bus 2016.
Stuff the Bus asks the community to help in need and at-risk kids prepare to go back to school in several ways: by donating $35 to provide a backpack full of required supplies; by organizing a drive for new school supplies in their neighborhood or workplace; or by donating new school supplies directly at any participating location on August 15 – 16, 2016. A complete list of collection sites is at www.uwbucks.org/stbsites. All supplies will be sorted, inventoried, and packed in backpacks by teams of volunteers on August 24 – 25.
Wells Fargo, the premiere sponsor of Stuff the Bus, got involved because student success is important to their team. “At Wells Fargo we’re proud to partner with the United Way of Bucks County to make the start of the school year brighter for students across the region,” said Brian Formisano, Wells Fargo’s Area President for Bucks County. “Our volunteers want to make sure that every student has a successful first day of class and filling these backpacks with school supplies will help students from all socio-economic backgrounds begin the year with the tools they need to be successful.”
Sesame Place, which will host the volunteer events, is proud to support the initiative. “Sesame Place is proud to partner with the United Way of Bucks County to ensure that students in the local area have the school supplies they need to succeed. Here at Sesame Place, we strive to represent the Sesame Street® mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder and we believe this project is an excellent way to do that in our own community,” says Robert Caruso, Park President at Sesame Place.
New school supplies boosts a child’s confidence
Danielle Bush, Stuff the Bus project director for United Way, explains that having the right supplies can impact the way students learn. “Imagine that it’s the first day of school and you are already behind. It really impacts how you feel about school and about learning – even how you feel about yourself,” she says.
Bush adds that new supplies can actually boost a child’s confidence if they are struggling. “Believe it or not, just having the right supplies can provide the self-assurance they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond,” she says.
Together, the partners collaborating on Stuff the Bus hope to provide 2,000 backpacks stuffed with essential school supplies. Backpacks are distributed to families with the greatest need through every school district in Bucks County, as well as 22 nonprofit agencies and faith-based groups.
“When people step up and support Stuff the Bus, they’re really changing things for a child who needs help,” says Bush. “No matter how old the child is, you can just see the gratitude and pride when they get that brand new backpack,” she adds.
Information and a link to donate can be found at www.uwbucks.org/stuffthebus.