The fourth annual “Stuff the Bus” and third annual “Best Foot Forward” campaigns held their annual collection day this past Saturday. Citizens Bank helped United Way start “Stuff the Bus” in 2013 as the lead sponsor of the event and has helped it grow each year. This year, nearly 100 volunteers from across our community came together to help us collect school supplies; crayons, glue sticks, pens, pencils, notebook paper, markers, facial tissue, spiral notebooks, folders, binders, erasers, backpacks and more.
In 2014, the Wood Family Dealerships teamed up with United Way to add “Best Foot Forward” to the event, an initiative geared towards providing athletic shoes to students in need. This year, with contributions from The Wood Family Dealerships, The John Hermann Hickman Foundation, The Rotary Club of Batesville, and the community, we were able to purchase 356 pairs of athletic shoes for students in need.
“When the day started out, I was worried that our efforts would be halted due to the bad weather," said Allison Phelps, Executive Director of United Way. "Around halfway through the day the weather improved and more shoppers showed up and the supplies started rolling in."
"Collections were hindered some, but it’s not too late to help," she continued. "We'll be collecting supplies at all Citizens Bank locations in Batesville throughout this week and any cash donations will be used to purchase additional supplies or shoes.”
This week, the school supplies and athletic shoes will be sorted, divided and distributed to the schools in our area, including Batesville, Cave City, Cedar Ridge, Midland and Southside School Districts. The local school counselors and teachers will identify the students in need and distribute the supplies and shoes to those who need them the most.
“I was so proud and overwhelmed by the number of volunteers that showed up and stuck it out through hard rain, thunder and lightning. I was especially proud of the students who see the need for this campaign and showed up to help. The school districts really showed up for us, including the Cheerleaders, Prancers, Student Council, Key Club, Beta Club, Boy Scouts, 4H from across Independence County and Cave City, and many others,” Phelps said of the turnout.
United Way wants to thank all partners, sponsors, nearly one hundred volunteers of all ages and all the shoppers who generously donated items to ensure local children were ready for school.