The annual Stuff the Bus drive is underway with various businesses signed up to collect supplies including Bank of the Ozarks; Christus St. Michael Health System in Texarkana and Atlanta; Healthcare Express and the Leadership Academy; Mayo Manufacturing; Red River Federal Credit Union, Shelter Insurance and Servpro; and Texana Bank.
Businesses can still sign up to host a drive and are encouraged to collect through Friday, July 20. The Stuff the Bus committee has volunteers on hand to deliver and pick up supplies.
“The need continues to grow, so we’ve increased goal to this year to 1,700 backpacks up from 1,600 in 2017. Year over year, we’re receiving requests for more supplies,” says Stuff the Bus chairperson Jennifer Lockman.
Last year, Stuff the Bus provided 1,669 backpacks to students in grades K-12 in public schools across 12 school districts in four counties in addition to students participating in various programs such as Opportunities Heads Start and the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Force’s P.R.I.D.E Academy.
“This program has provided backpacks and school supplies for over 10,000 students since its inception. One hundred percent of every dollar raised goes back into this program,” says Lockman.
It’s a goal to eventually reach students as far West as Lamar County mirroring the service area of the United Way of Greater Texarkana. This hasn’t happened yet and ultimately; it comes down to the donated dollar.
“Last year, 73% of program funds came from grant funding and we are so grateful for this income stream to continue the program, but to grow, we’re going to have to seek out other funding outlets,” says Lockman.
A new event this year is the first annual beer derby on Saturday, July 14th at 5:30pm at New Haven Golf Club. This a one-mile fun run with options to run solo or with a four-man team. Runners and non- runners alike entry fee is $25 and you can sign up at runsignup.com. Search for “Texarkana Beer Derby.” All participants will receive a t-shirt and pint glass. Draft beer specials courtesy of New Haven Golf Club, food, music and prizes will follow.
“We are excited about this event. It’s a twist on a standard run with prime viewing for anyone wanting to come and support the event. Mike Riley with Christus Fitness Center is helping us with the race details and there are some surprises in store,” says Lockman.
The website only allows participants over 21, but note that anyone under 21 can attend for free as long as they’re accompanied by an adult.
Sponsorships are available for this event. Contact Jennifer Lockman at 903.701.7850 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond the event and supply collection, volunteers will be needed the weeks of July 30th and August 6th to sort and stuff backpack at Texarkana Resources. Sign up a volunteer group with Molly Riley at the United Way office by calling 903-794-3105 or email email@example.com.
Follow the United Way of Greater Texarkana on social media for up-to-date information the 2018 Stuff the Bus school supply drive.
For more information on Stuff the Bus, please contact the United Way office at (903) 794-3105.