Thank You for Making Stuff the Bus a Success!

(August 2013) - With the help of local individuals, businesses, churches, and organizations, United Way of Sumner County’s 2013 “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive was the most successful ever! Approximately 700 Sumner County students were provided backpacks and school supplies through the program, which is a 75 percent increase over the approximately 400 students who were assisted in 2012.

The success of “Stuff the Bus” was made possible by the support of our partners and others who stepped up to make a difference in the lives of children who just want the opportunity to learn. We offer our thanks and appreciation to everyone who played a role in this effort.

COMPASS and its Executive Director, Debra Maggart, were a vital part of this year’s “Stuff the Bus.” In addition to raising $2,880 in monetary donations, including the funding to purchase 500 backpacks from U.S. Congressman Diane Black and Dr. David Black, Maggart worked tirelessly to promote “Stuff the Bus” to businesses and individuals throughout the county.

Publix Supermarkets, through its “School Tools for Cool Kids” program, collected more than $10,000 in school supplies at its stores in Gallatin, Goodlettsville, and Hendersonville for “Stuff the Bus.” The supplies were purchased and donated by hundreds of Publix customers.

The News Examiner and Star News provided invaluable assistance to “Stuff the Bus” through advertisements and promotional stories, and Chambers of Commerce in Gallatin, Goodlettsville, Hendersonville, Portland, White House and Westmoreland promoted our event and served as collection points for donated supplies. Jet’s Pizza in Gallatin graciously donated lunch for our large number of Sort-A-Thon and Pack-A-Thon volunteers who spent three days organizing donated school supplies.

Several businesses and organizations held school supply drives at their locations to benefit “Stuff the Bus,” including R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Fifth Third Bank, Hoeganaes, Hendersonville Medical Center, H.A.T.S., the Sumner County Office of Elections, RE/Max, and Wilson Bank & Trust. More than 20 individuals donated money for the purchase of school supplies through the Sponsor a Student program, and Target in Hendersonville donated a large amount of supplies.

A new aspect of “Stuff the Bus” this year was the organization of donated school supplies by United Way volunteers during a one-day Sort-A-Thon and two backpack Pack-A-Thon days held at the Sumner County Schools Central Office in Gallatin. More than 70 volunteers took part in these events, giving up their own time to make a difference for others. In addition to individuals and families who took part, several businesses participated by allowing their employees to work at the events, including Fifth Third Bank, ITW Dynatec, Regions Bank, ServPro, Target, and the Tenn. Department of Economic and Community Development. Thank you to everyone who made this new aspect of “Stuff the Bus” an overwhelming success.

A special Thank You goes to Sumner County Director of Schools Dr. Del Phillips and Unity.com after school program Project Director Marijo Monette and her staff for the school district’s continuing partnership with “Stuff the Bus.” Through their efforts, the donated school supplies found their way into the hands of the students who needed them.

Finally, I want to thank each individual who made a contribution to this year’s “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive. Hundreds of you made donations that gave eager children the tools they need to fully participate in the learning process this fall. The end result of your generosity will be a stronger community in the years ahead.

Thank you all for helping us LIVE UNITED in Sumner County.