SCOTTSBLUFF — Starting July 14, the United Way of Western Nebraska will host its annual Stuff the Bus.
According to Steph Black, United Way Executive Director, Stuff the Buss is one of United Way’s initiatives to highlight better education. The event gives communities an opportunity to donate school supplies to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it.
Stuff the Bus is a program that has been running for more than a decade. As the program continues, it becomes more relevant as back-to-school shopping lists seem to be getting longer each year. For some families, their money is better spent on groceries than school supplies.
The supplies donated to Stuff the Bus will help fill 175-200 backpacks and be distributed through Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska and eight different school districts, including Scottsbluff, Gering, Mitchell, Morrill, Minatare, Bayard, Bridgeport and Banner County.
Not only can community members donate supplies, but they can also donate money.
The money will be split among the school districts and used on prepaid credit cards. When supplies start running low, which Black said will happen quickly, the schools can use the cards to buy more supplies.
United Way has teamed up with 25 Pacesetter businesses to use as donation locations. The Pacesetter businesses are businesses that encourage their employees to get involved in the community. They will have totes throughout town where supplies can be dropped off. Pacesetter businesses include the City of Gering, the City of Scottsbluff, Herberger’s, Target, Sam & Louie’s Pizzeria, and more.
School supplies can also be dropped off at the United Way’s public locations, which are Main Street Market, Walmart, and the United Way itself. Any money donations, in cash or check, can be sent or dropped off at United Way at 1517 Broadway, Suite 106 in Scottsbluff.
To wrap up Stuff the Bus, Panhandle Coop will have a hamburger feed on Aug. 4. The feed will be the last day of donations for Stuff the Bus, and half of the proceeds from the hamburger feed will be donated to United Way.
The community makes a huge impact, Black said. She said that donating to Stuff the Bus takes weight off of the shoulders of families, schools and teachers, who often help pay for supplies out of their own pocket.
“Every little thing helps. Even if you don’t have kids, you can pick up a pack of crayons while you’re grocery shopping and it’ll make a difference,” said Black. “No donation is too big or too small.”