The San Diego County Office of Education and San Diego County Credit Union teamed up Friday for the eighth straight year to begin the Stuff the Bus school supplies drive for the region’s students experiencing homelessness.
According to the SDCOE, more than 18,000 school-age children in San Diego County have been identified as homeless. The school-supplies drive aims to collect thousands of dollars in online and in-store donations to purchase pencils, pens, binders, crayons, backpacks and more. Additionally, a portion of donations will also assist San Diego Youth Services in providing meals for homeless youth through its various food programs.
“We know that families in our communities are struggling,” said Susie Terry, coordinator of SDCOE’s Homeless Education Services. “Each year, this drive allows us to relieve some of their burden as they prepare to go back to school. Every spring we hear from local schools asking if we will have supplies again and letting us know how much it means to the families to receive them.”
The campaign will collect monetary donations online or in-store at any Ralphs or Food 4 Less grocery store in the county throughout July. Donations are welcome in any amount. Organizers noted that $20 will cover the cost of a backpack filled with supplies for an elementary-age student, while $25 will cover the cost of a backpack and supplies for a secondary-age student.
“We are incredibly grateful to members of the San Diego community who have shown their support each year for students across the region experiencing homelessness,” said Paul Gothold, San Diego County superintendent of schools. “Our students and their families continue to face daily challenges, and even the smallest donation during this campaign can make a big impact. We want to make sure our most vulnerable students have what they need to participate in school and be able to focus on learning.”
In 2021, the Stuff the Bus campaign raised more than $100,000 in monetary donations to help purchase more than 7,900 backpacks filled with supplies for San Diego County students.
More information is available at www.sdcoe.net/stuffthebus.
— City News Service