With back-to-school just around the corner, several entities in the county combined to “Stuff the Bus” with school supplies for needy students yesterday and today at the Rockingham Walmart.
Monetary or material donations will continue to be accepted today from 9 a.m. to noon before the bus leaves the parking lot.
While the drive didn’t begin in earnest until yesterday, RCS Public Information Officer Ashley Simmons said county businesses had already stepped to the plate prior to this week.
“Before the drive even started, we raised $1,430 from local businesses - of which the major donor was Maness Tire (Pros, of Rockingham),” she said. “We are hoping that our presence at Walmart will give us an opportunity to receive additional donations from the public.”
Among the items being collected are standard academic tools such as paper, pencils, organizers, arts and crafts supplies and hygienic products such as hand sanitizer and tissue.
Boy Scouts Troop 49 member Shawn Butler explained volunteering at “Stuff the Bus” fits seamlessly into the Scouts’ mission to foster community service.
“It’s helping people out that are less fortunate than others by getting the community to pitch in and make donations for them,” he said.
Troop 64 member Adam Morrison agreed.
“Because you’re bringing stuff in, and then they take that stuff to the schools and the schools use it for people who can’t afford the price of it themselves,” he said.
RCS employee Patty Bowden manned the tent where monetary donations from the public were collected Friday morning in front of Walmart, and said she observed cheerful giving from the community.
“Most think it’s a wonderful thing that we’re doing, for them to be able to help a kid who needs help,” Bowden explained. “We also recognize that a lot of families are hurting right now in the county, and this is a chance to do something that makes a big difference.”
United Way of Richmond County Director Michelle Parrish said this is the type of project the non-profit can really get behind.
“The United Way is about helping the community and this is one way we can partner with the school system and local businesses and the public to help the children and ensure they have what they need to start the school year off right,” she said.
Donor Wendy Peele expressed pleasure at being able to get in on the action.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “My children are grown, but it could be me who’s in that position where they need help.”
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 15, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.