Stuff the Bus. Photo courtesy of San Diego County Office of Education.

There are only a couple of more days left to make a donation to Stuff the Bus, an annual campaign to provide school supplies to more than 22,000 students throughout San Diego County who are experiencing homelessness.

Sponsored by the San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego County Credit Union and iHeartMedia, this year’s fundraising drive is taking place online due to public health concerns related to slowing the spread of COVID-19. In previous years, collection sites were set up around the county where donors could drop off brand-new school supplies such as pencils, pens, binders, backpacks and much more.

Officials with SDCOE say donations are needed more than ever to offset back-to-school costs for families facing financial hardships due to the pandemic.

“One of the biggest challenges for a child experiencing homelessness is staying in school. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of a physical school environment has made engagement even more challenging,” said Susie Terry, coordinator for SDCOE’s Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services. “The Stuff the Bus campaign helps provide assistance to our families so they have one less thing to worry about as the new school year approaches. We are grateful to SDCCU for their continued partnership in this effort.”

SDCOE is taking donations for students in need through a GoFundMe page. All money will be used to buy school supplies that will be distributed in backpacks to the county’s 42 public school districts. The campaign’s fundraising goal is $125,000.

Donations of any amount are welcome — $20 is enough to fill a backpack for a elementary school-age student, while $25 is enough to cover a filled backpack appropriate for a secondary student, according to the SDCOE.

This year, backpacks will also include disposable face masks provided by San Diego-based Clinical Supplies, which gave 28,000 of the face coverings to the drive.

Stuff the Bus continues through the end of the month.

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