JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson County residents rallied to help vulnerable families prepare their children for school by donating 12,132 back-to-school supplies during the recent Stuff The Bus event. That exceeds last year’s tally of 10,724 items.
Items gathered to help kids start school with the right supplies included 426 backpacks, 1,151 glue sticks or glue bottles, 1,034 notebooks, 400 packs of pencils, 3,750 erasers, 466 pencil cases, 675 folders, 654 packs of pens, 635 scissors, 661 markers and hundreds of other items, from colored pencils to highlighters to crayons to tissues and hand sanitizer. Also, money donations made it possible to purchase 15 graphing calculators—typically costing around $100 each—for high school students in need.
In its second year, the Stuff The Bus school supply drive took place July 29-Aug. 9. Stuff The Bus brought together United Way of Jackson County, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in Jackson County, and the Martin Luther King Community Center. LJ Ross Associates was the presenting sponsor. There were 21 locations across the county gathering supplies. Also sponsoring Stuff The Bus were Buffalo Wild Wings, Center for Family Health, County National Bank, CP Federal Credit Union, Henry Ford Allegiance Health, HOME.fm 106.9, JTV, Jackson County Intermediate School District, and Two Men And A Truck.
Earlier this week, more than two dozen local volunteers sorted the supplies and readied them for distribution. Items are being distributed to students through local school districts, the DHHS foster care youth program, and the Back to School Bash at the King Center.
Some 42% of households in Jackson County are either in poverty or ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), meaning they struggle to make ends meet. That makes back-to-school needs even tougher financially for these families. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation [nrf.com], the average family expects to spend $117.49 this year on school supplies alone—notebooks, pencils, backpacks, etc.
“As Stuff The Bus results show, Jackson County residents are determined to help vulnerable families and children,” said Ken Toll, President and CEO of United Way of Jackson County. “We’re deeply grateful for our community’s compassion, which is helping kids start the school year on the right foot.”
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