AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va.-- Several organizations in the area are working to get kids ready to go back to school.
The Salvation Army in Staunton plans to host a back-to-school drive. The United Way of Greater Augusta is one of the organizers for the annual school supply drive called Stuff the Bus.
The Salvation Army in Staunton helped distribute items from Stuff the Bus in 2012. Major Mary Hearne said the organization handed out 300 backpacks filled with supplies. Half of them came from Stuff the Bus.
This year, some families have already contacted Hearne to sign up for the drive.
"We have been inundated with phone calls with students that are in need of school supplies," said Hearne.
However, this year, supplies from Stuff the Bus will be distributed through the schools in Augusta County and Waynesboro.
United Way of Greater Augusta Executive Director Cynthia Pritchard said the change would help serve more kids in need.
"They are filled backpacks, which is great for a portion of the population but there are some children that get some supplies but need a couple things or more things. In order to have the biggest impact in the 7,500 children we have decided to do the distribution through the school this year," said Pritchard.
She said it may also help alleviate some transportation concerns.
"It became really apparent that we need to reach out to some of our rural areas in the county and by having them in the schools, which is their backyard and they get transported to anyway. It's the best way for them to access materials," said Pritchard.
Hearne still wants to help those who are asking for assistance at the Salvation Army.
She said they may be able to help out only 100 children with school supplies, but not with backpacks.
"It's going to cut us more than half on what the community needs for children to go back to school," said Hearne.
Hearne said donations are key to help kids in need in the Staunton community.
"We need the community to help us to provide those that we won't have to give to the children," said Hearne.
Nearly 7,500 in Augusta County and Waynesboro are eligible to receive school supplies. They receive free or reduced lunch at schools.
To help the Salvation Army in Staunton, you can contact the non-profit at 540-885-8157. If you want to donate to Stuff the Bus, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stuff-the-BUS/255771694438152.
The Salvation Army in Harrisonburg-Rockingham County will continue to distribute items from Stuff the Bus. The event is scheduled for Aug. 2 to 4.
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