From the Greater Excellence in Education Foundation:
Each year thousands of Harford County public school students start school without necessary classroom supplies. To help change that and give financially disadvantaged pupils the materials they need, the Greater Excellence in Education Foundation (GEEF) holds the “Stuff the Bus” campaign to collect school supplies. A donation of $2,000 in supplies from the Abingdon Wegmans launched the campaign this year, and moved GEEF closer to the goal of gathering enough items to stock 3,000 student desks in time for the first day of school on August 25. Donations to Stuff the Bus can be dropped off at businesses around Harford County through September 16. Items collected after August 22 will be available for students to replenish supplies during the year.
Items needed for the Stuff the Bus campaign include:
· Pencils (regular and colored), Pens, Markers (washable and dry erase), Crayons, Highlighters
· Blunt edge scissors, Protractors, Compasses, Erasers
· Glue sticks and White glue bottles
· Loose leaf paper, Index cards, Composition notebooks
· Two-pocket folders with brads, Binders (1 1/2″ and 3”), Binder separators
· Zippered pencil pouches (including binder pencil pouches), Plastic pencil cases
· USB drives, Graphing calculators
· Plastic zip storage bags (quart and gallon size)
Collection bins for Stuff the Bus donations are located in the following Harford County businesses:
A. Bright Idea; Aberdeen Dental Care; APG Federal Credit Union; Armstrong Ceilings; Aruba Sun and Spa; Beacon Staffing; Bel Air Athletic Club; Bright Oaks Pediatric Center; Chesapeake Bank of Maryland; Coffee Coffee ; Harford County Department of Emergency Services; Maryland Environmental Service; Drayer Physical Therapy; Edward Jones (Havre de Grace and Aberdeen offices); Express Employment Professionals; First National Bank; Freedom Federal Credit Union; Har-Co Credit Union; Harford Bank; Harford County Chamber of Commerce; Harford County Public Library (all branches); Harford County Public Schools (Hickory Avenue); Harford Mutual Insurance Company; Howard Bank; Jones Junction; New Destiny Evangelistic Church; Pepsi Cola Bottling Company (Havre de Grace); Planet Fitness (Abingdon and Bel Air); Raytheon; Stringfellow Management Group; Sunny Day Café; Towson University Northeastern Maryland; Total Urgent Care US Army 926th CBN-DIV C; Wegmans Food Market; Weyrich, Cronin and Sorra, CPA and the Y- Ward Family Center (Abingdon).
2016 is the eleventh year for the Stuff the Bus campaign. According to GEEF, there are 10,000 students living in or near poverty in Harford County and the organization helped 1,600 last year. But with a growing population in need, GEEF seeks to help 3,000 students this year. The campaign, which launched July 25, is closer to achieving that goal with the donation of $2,000 in school supplies from Wegmans Food Market in Abingdon.
Wegmans’ store manager Al Jackson organized the donation after attending a GEEF donor breakfast. He says, “When I heard that GEEF was only reaching one out of 10 students in need with school supplies, I was determined to help make things better. Wegmans is proud to be part of the Stuff the Bus campaign and we challenge other businesses and individuals to join the effort to give all students the items they need for the first day of school and beyond.”
Warren Hamilton, GEEF Board Chair, adds, “Economically disadvantaged families may not be able to afford school supplies for their children so teachers often fill the gap and purchase things themselves, spending an average of $500 – $2,000 each year. The Stuff the Bus campaign gives a helping hand to both teachers and students so together they can achieve educational success.” He adds, “GEEF is grateful to Mr. Jackson and to Wegmans for their advocacy and generous support of ‘Stuff the Bus.’ Because of their commitment, we are much closer to our goal of stocking the desks of every Harford County student in need in time for the first day of school.”
Stuff the Bus donations will be picked up from each collection site on August 15 and September 16. Supplies from the first pickup will be inventoried, boxed and delivered to Title I schools in Harford County by August 22 so teachers can stock the desks of students in need before the first day of school. Title I schools have 60% or more of students who qualify for the free and reduced meals (FaRMs) program, a federal indicator of poverty. Items collected in the September 16 pickup will be used in the GEEF Tools for Schools Resource Center so teachers can replenish necessary classroom items throughout the academic year.
GEEF donated $22,000 in school supplies to Harford County classrooms in 2015, and since its formation in 2004, has also awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to deserving students. In addition to scholarships and supplies, GEEF offers other valuable resources for the county’s 37,000 students such as the SMILE Leadership Conference; LEAD for Tomorrow high school leadership program; Books in Hand Summer Learning; and the Connect to A Classroom initiative that gives businesses in the community the opportunity to directly donate funds toward an innovative classroom project or need.
Any organization or community group that would like to host an additional school supply drive as a service project can schedule a drop off at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about GEEF and the “Stuff the Bus” campaign visit www.geefinc.com.