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United Way SAW’s Stuff the Bus collects more schools supplies than ever

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 7:50 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - United Way Staunton, Augusta County, Waynesboro’s (SAW) Stuff the Bus had its biggest year yet. More than $73,000 worth of school supplies collected is going to students for their first day of school on Tuesday.

On Monday, surrounded by school supplies, volunteers at Augusta Expo in Fishersville got them sorted for 29 schools in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County.

“Our families have really struggled,” said Dr. Ryan Barber, the executive director of student services at Waynesboro Public Schools. “We’re coming out of a pandemic and there are lots of stresses that families have financially getting their child ready for school.”

School supplies should not have to be one of them. This year, Waynesboro Public Schools used its Back-to-School Bashes to find out what students need. On Monday, they filled orders.

“About 200 students have asked for specific supply requests,” said Barber. “This is one of the ways that our community really steps up and provides families what they need so students can be successful.”

Every single item was donated by someone in the community.

“Some people would come up with one pack of crayons, and they would say I’m so sorry, I can’t donate more,” said Sam Bosserman, director of community impact with United Way SAW. “That one pack of crayons is gonna make a big difference in that student who gets to use those crayons.”

The community also stepped up to volunteer. This is the third year for members of Mt. Zion Lodge #18 out of Staunton.

“When they bring them in, we unload the trucks, and then separate them into categories,” said Keith Toliver, the worshipful master of Mt. Zion Lodge #18.

Then, they sorted them by schools. It’s providing equity on day one inside the schools.

“Everybody’s on the same playing field,” said Toliver. “They feel equal. You know, they’re proud of themselves. They got something that everyone else has.”

“From an educator, I like new schools supplies and our students do too,” stated Barber. “They like being able to start out with a fresh start, and a fresh foot forward, getting ready for a great school year.”

Most of the supplies are expected to be in the schools and ready for students on their first day.

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