This month\u2019s recipient of the Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission donation is the \u00a0Darke County United Way\u2019s Stuff-A-Bus school supply drive.Each year, families across the county must supply their children with the items they need to succeed in school. The Stuff-A-Bus school supply drive – now in its 15th year – seeks to collect school supplies and distribute them directly to school districts in the area that can provide these items to children in need.Community-Driven Support\u201cIt\u2019s cost-prohibitive for a lot of families (to order school supplies),\u201d says Christy Bugher, Executive Director of the Darke County United Way. \u201cSo anything we can do to help alleviate some of that back-to-school financial burden, we\u2019re willing to do.\u201dThe organization calls on support from both the residential community and local businesses. \u201cThey collect school supplies all throughout the month of July,\u201d Bugher says, \u201cand then donate them to the United Way. Then what we do is divide them all up so that every single school district in our community gets those school supplies. We really feel that the folks who are going to know (which families) need those supplies are the schools.\u201dHealth, Education and Financial StabilityThe Stuff-A-Bus initiative is just one of the many programs the United Way manages throughout the year. \u201cWe have three areas of focus,\u201d says Bugher, \u201cand those are health, education, and financial stability. We’re very aware that if kids get a proper education, the other two things become a little less challenging for them later in life.\u201d Indeed, studies have shown that children who get a strong education early in life have better overall health and financial outcomes as adultsDue to its importance, education is the pillar that the organization puts most of its funding into. \u201cA lot of people would call in to the United Way office,\u201d Bugher says, \u201casking for help with school supplies. And, you know, parents shouldn’t have to decide whether or not they’re buying groceries or school supplies, or if they’re paying their electric bill or buying school supplies. The kiddos need it. And our community has been fantastic about supplying that need.\u201dStretching Donated Dollars FurtherWhile the organization is always looking for school supplies for the drive, cash donations can actually do the most good. This is because the United Way can use cash donations to order supplies in bulk, as they have contracts with big box stores that allow them to get discounts for buying hundreds of items at a discount. \u201cWe greatly appreciate the generous gift that Mercer Savings donated,\u201d Bugher says. \u201cIt\u2019s really going to help a lot of kids.\u201dThis year\u2019s drive may be wrapping up, but there are always more programs and initiatives spearheaded by the United Way that could use additional support. Learn more about ongoing \u201cFUNdrives\u201d here.How to Support The United Way\u2019s Stuff-A-Bus ProgramDonations of any type can be dropped off at the United Way office located at 207 E. 4th St. in Greenville or mailed to P.O. Box 716, Greenville, Ohio 45331. Monetary donations can also be made online at the organization’s website.