This month’s recipient of the Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission donation is the Darke County United Way’s 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.
“It’s cost-prohibitive for a lot of families (to order school supplies),” says Christy Bugher, Executive Director of the Darke County United Way. “So anything we can do to help alleviate some of that back-to-school financial burden, we’re willing to do.”
The organization calls on support from both the residential community and local businesses. “They collect school supplies all throughout the month of July,” Bugher says, “and 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.”
Health, Education and Financial Stability
The Stuff-A-Bus initiative is just one of the many programs the United Way manages throughout the year. “We have three areas of focus,” says Bugher, “and 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.” Indeed, studies have shown that children who get a strong education early in life have better overall health and financial outcomes as adults
Due to its importance, education is the pillar that the organization puts most of its funding into. “A lot of people would call in to the United Way office,” Bugher says, “asking 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.”
Stretching Donated Dollars Further
While 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. “We greatly appreciate the generous gift that Mercer Savings donated,” Bugher says. “It’s really going to help a lot of kids.”
This year’s 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 “FUNdrives” here.
How to Support The United Way’s Stuff-A-Bus Program
Donations 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.