While many kids are still perfecting their cannonballs in area pools and lakes, the 2022-2023 school year is just around the corner. But buying the needed school supplies can be difficult for some families, leaving their children without the tools they need to enter the classroom.
In an effort to help low-income families receive the supplies they need for a successful school year, the United Way of Frederick County annually partners with Frederick County Public Schools and a number of businesses and organizations to host its Stuff the Bus donation drive.
From now until Aug. 3, individuals may drop off school supplies such as pencils, pens, backpacks, air buds, glue sticks and crayons at more than 30 locations throughout the county.
At the end of the drive, multiple buses will come to the various drop off locations to pick up the donations, which will be sorted at a central location and later distributed to children in need.
Joyce Kwamena-Poh, the United Way of Frederick County’s director of operations and human resources, notes the Stuff the Bus campaign is critical to helping students get the supplies they need to start the school year. During last year’s drive, the campaign served more than 7,000 students.
“We are looking to grow that (number),” she says. “The need is there, so the goal is to grow it every year.” Kwamena-Poh notes the drive is important because children gain knowledge by using school supplies as a tool.
“Education is foundational,” she says. “Unfortunately, as basic as school supplies may seem, a lot of families are not able to afford (them) at the beginning of the school year, and our goal is to make sure students have the supplies they need.
She adds that having the proper school supplies can also make all the difference in a child’s frame of mind going into the school year.
“It gets them excited. It gets them inspired. They get ready for the school year,” she says. “It is very important, and a very simple and easy way for the community at large to participate and give back.”
Those who might not have time to purchase supplies and drop them off can go to the United Way’s website and make a monetary donation, with every penny going toward the purchase of school supplies.
The United Way estimates $15 could buy a kindergartener pencils, crayons and markers; $50 could aid a middle schooler in getting basic supplies, notebooks and binders and $100 could get a high school student school materials and some required learning tools.
For more information, visit unitedwayfrederick.org/stuffthebus.