Schoolchildren craving packs of 24 crayons, binders and filler paper — or backpacks already stuffed with supplies — will receive help again this year from the school district’s 10th annual Stuff the Bus campaign and native son and philanthropist Dannell Ellerbe.
Stuff the Bus will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 9, in the Walmart parking lot on U.S. 74 Business. As usual, a bright yellow school bus will be parked outside the store, to be filled with school supplies. It will reappear at that night’s home game at Raider Stadium.
The items will go to students in kindergarten through grade 12 who need assistance.
“It may seem early, but the sponsorship letters have already begun to pour in,” school district spokeswoman Brianna Goins said Monday. “This is exciting because it’s important for every child to have the supplies that they will need throughout the entire school year.”
Sponsored by Richmond County Schools, the United Way and the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, last year’s drive netted 32,000 items, from backpacks to colored pencils to pencil cases.
This year, the Chamber has begun searching for sponsors to contribute to the campaign by advertising on the bus windows, windshield and hood. Money gleaned from advertising will go toward supplies.
Donors may buy the supplies themselves or contribute cash so organizers can conduct shopping sprees inside Walmart. Last year, high and middle school Beta Club members roamed outside the store in the heat, collecting donations in brightly colored buckets. They will repeat that effort this year, Goins said.
In its third year this year, Ellerbe’s backpack drive will distribute 500 supply-stuffed backpacks to children who visit Department of Social Services offices starting at 9 a.m. Aug. 19.
New Horizons Counseling Services of Hamlet also will be present to distribute information on preventing bullying and teen domestic violence. Information on open house dates at neighborhood schools, as well as information on the schools’ uniform policy, also will be available.
DSS is at 125 Caroline St. in Rockingham.
Hamlet native Ellerbe, a linebacker and free agent with the National Football League, has won Super Bowls with the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles and played for the New Orleans Saints.
On July 14, he will offer his seventh annual camp at Richmond Senior High School, part of his effort to promote youth development.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]