Jul. 13—Now through Aug. 3, bright yellow bins across Frederick County businesses and nonprofits will serve as collection points for school supplies.
The United Way of Frederick County has kicked off its 14th Stuff the Bus drive, which runs from July 5 through Aug. 3. About 56 business and nonprofits are participating this year, up from 45 a year ago, according to Veronica Henry, manager of community impact and grants.
"The overall goal of Stuff the Bus is to serve as many children in Frederick as we possibly can, so those kiddos have the school supplies that they need to start the first day of school confidently and well prepared," Henry said.
The supplies will go to students from low- to moderate-income families, including ALICE households, according to Henry. ALICE stands for asset limited, income constrained, employed.
For Stuff the Bus, United Way works with Frederick County Public Schools to create a list of needed supplies. Some of the most needed items this year include: glue sticks, crayons, markers, two-pocket folders, loose-leaf paper, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, backpacks and more. The complete list can be found at unitedwayfrederick.org/stuffthebus.
On Aug. 3, FCPS buses will collect the bins and take them to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Frederick. Volunteers will sort them, so schools can receive the supplies that line up with their wish lists, according to Henry.
Joyce Kwamena-Poh, the director of operations of United Way of Frederick County, described the effort as a way for partners such as businesses to give back to the community.
"I think students face many challenges in school and having basic school supplies to start the school year should not be one of them," Kwamena-Poh wrote in an email. "I find it very heartwarming to see that we are able to help students get ready to start the school year."
Last year, Stuff the Bus netted 300 bins, plus 35 pallets of school supplies donated by Walmart. Henry said this allowed the United Way to serve approximately 7,000 students.
There is also an option to make a monetary donation online, Henry said, which will be used to buy school supplies. As of mid-Wednesday afternoon, more than $8,600 had been donated.
Market Street Boba & Beans, of Frederick, is participating for the first time as a business, though co-owner Mike McKinney said his family donated last year. He said it was amazing to see the school buses pick up the supplies.
"I was glad we could contribute," he said.
Wanting to do more, McKinney got a collection bin for the coffee shop at 35 N. Market St., which opened in February 2021. He hopes customers will contribute to the drive.
Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller