For the fifth year, a school-supply drive has begun to help the region’s students dealing with homelessness — more than 22,000 by a 2018 count.
Called “Stuff the Bus,” the effort is a project of the San Diego County Office of Education and San Diego County Credit Union that – along with iHeartMedia – aims to collect thousands of pencils, pens, binders, crayons, backpacks and more during the campaign.
“We know that our families feel supported when they find out that their children will have all of the supplies they need to start the school year ready to learn just like all of their peers,” said Susie Terry, coordinator for SDCOE’s Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services.
“The generosity of the community and the deep partnership with SDCCU makes this possible and we are so grateful for every backpack we are able to fill.”
One of the biggest challenges for a child experiencing homelessness is staying in school. The Stuff the Bus campaign aims to make a difference by eliminating their worries of walking into class without a notebook or pencil.
Donations can be made online here in any amount.
Organizers say $10 will pay for a backpack for a secondary-age student or a basic supplies kit, while $15 covers the cost of a backpack filled with supplies for an elementary-age student.
In 2018, the Stuff the Bus campaign collected more than 231,000 new supplies and more than 6,000 backpacks. Organizers are hopeful that they will surpass that this summer.
“The San Diego community consistently shows their generosity when it comes to helping students who are in need,” said Dr. Paul Gothold, San Diego County superintendent of schools. “As a father and an educator, I know what a difference it makes to be able to start a new school year with a backpack full of supplies. Being ready to learn lays the foundation for a bright future for these children.”
Stuff the Bus officially launched July 1. Collection bins for new, unused school supplies are at all San Diego County SDCCU branches, Walmart stores (July 10-31), select Mathnasium locations, and select SDCOE locations, including:
- SDCOE main campus, 6401 Linda Vista Road, San Diego (outside Room 105 and cafeteria)
- SDCOE Homeless Education Services office, 3878 Old Town Ave., Suite 200, San Diego
- North County Regional Educational Center, 255 Pico Ave., San Marcos
- South County Regional Education Center, 800 National City Blvd., National City
In addition, two colorfully wrapped school buses will be touring the county to collect new, unused school supplies during stops at SDCCU branch locations, select Walmart locations, and partner agencies.
For the bus tour schedule, visit www.sdccu.com/.
The drive is once partnering with local iHeartMedia radio stations Star 94.1, JAM’N 95.7, and Channel 93.3 for special appearances and live broadcasts at select Walmart locations.