United Way to Expand Back to School Event –  Stuff the Bus

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United Way of North Central Arkansas will launch its annual effort to collect school supplies and other basic items to ensure that every child in Independence County is properly equipped to succeed this month with our big collection day being August 5th.

United Way and Citizens Bank launched “Stuff the Bus” in 2013 to collect school supplies and the following year the Wood Family of Dealerships joined the campaign with “Best Foot Forward,” which seeks the donation of new athletic shoes for children who need them.  Local United Way partners have banded together to expand this event even 11x17-Stuff-the-Bus-2013further, Batesville Help & Hope, with the help of Family Violence Prevention and The Community School will be collecting very gently used to new outfits for children in need.

“Batesville Help & Hope serves over 800 families per month and this new program will help each child in their system start back to school with one or two “new” outfits.  This effort is going to take a village, we hope everyone will come together to support this expansion,’ said, Deanna Green, President of Batesville Help & Hope Board of Directors.  “Look in your children’s closet, pick out something they can no longer wear and donate it to this great cause.  Our goal is 2,000 outfits by the end of July and we need your help to make it happen.”

The Wood Family Dealerships will be donating one pair of athletic shoes for each car sold during the month of July and encourage others to help children start school with a new pair of tennis shoes.  Supplies will be collected during the last two weeks of July at all Citizens Bank locations in Independence County and at the United Way office.  Very-gently used or new outfits can be dropped off at Fresh Start Resale Shop (1280 N Saint Louis; M-Sat 8:30 am – 4:00 pm), Almost New Store (563 Water Street; M-Sat 8:30 am – 4:00 pm) or at Batesville Help & Hope (2622 E Main Street; M, W, F 8:00am to 12:00 pm).  Please note that donations are for the “Back to School” event when dropping off. 

“These resale stores help our local agencies, Family Violence Prevention and The Community School, provide much needed service to our community.  These specific outfits will be given away to clients of Batesville Help & Hope free of charge.  These stores are always accepting other donations to help support their efforts to help the community, please think of them when you are cleaning out your closet or discarding used furniture,” said Allison Phelps, Executive Director of the United Way of North Central Arkansas.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, school buses will be stationed at Walmart, 3150 Harrison Street to collect school supplies and shoes.  That date also coincides with the annual Arkansas sales tax holiday, which means the money used for contributions will go even further.

Phelps, said “The school supplies and shoes will be distributed to children based on need in the five school districts in our area – Batesville, Cave City, Cedar Ridge, Midland and Southside.”

Additionally, Phelps said, “Thanks to cash donations from The Wood Family Dealerships, the Batesville Rotary Club and The John Herman Hickman Foundation we will purchase at least 300 pairs of shoes on tax free day for local kids in need.”

“We hope everyone will join us in providing students with the necessary supplies that sends them to school better prepared to succeed and steer them toward the path that leads to high school graduation,” Phelps said.  “As Back-to-School season gets under way, we hope everyone will pick up a few extra items and clean out their closets for this worthy cause.”

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