Friday, August 17 2012, 03:27 PM EDT
'Stuff the Bus' for United Way
About 25 percent of Hamilton County public school students live at or below poverty level, according to a news release from the United Way. That means many area students lack the supplies they need to go back to school prepared for success. So United Way of Greater Chattanooga invites the community to donate to the third annual STUFF THE BUS school supply drive for children and teens to equip Hamilton County public school students for success in school. In 2011, $15,000 in supplies were collected and donated to the Hamilton County Parent Teacher Association's (PTA) Teacher Supply Depot. The 2012 goal is to collect $40,000 in school supplies.
"We've seen research that shows the average public school teacher spends $1,200 of his or her money every year – not reimbursed – on students’ needs and classroom supplies," said Eva Dillard, United Way CEO. "Because we know education is the key to lifetime success, we want students to have the school supplies they need, and their teachers are the best way to get those supplies to them. We also want these supplies to be available to teachers and students all year long, not just when school starts."
United Way and the Hamilton County PTA's Teacher Supply Depot are asking people to host school supply drives at their businesses, schools, and places of worship, or just donate school supplies at a participating drop-off event or location. Go online at LiveUnitedChattanooga.org to download posters, supply lists and other templates to help organize a drive. All school supply donations go to the Hamilton County PTA's Teacher Supply Depot, a 501c3. Any Hamilton County public school teacher who is a member of a Hamilton County public school PTA can shop at the Hamilton County PTA's Teacher Supply Depot to receive school supplies at no cost.
The list of Stuff the Bus partners keeps growing. Joining long-time sponsor Publix are Walgreens; Top Flight paper company; Office Depot; Applebee's; the Social Media Alliance of Chattanooga; Chattanooga Elks Lodge #91 in East Brainerd; Hamilton Place Mall; CBL & Associates; and the Chattanooga Market.
"Walgreens is a leader in the drug industry and we also want to be seen as a leader in our community, not only when it comes to Health and Wellness but also when it comes to Education," said Walgreens Community Leader Mike Tallman. "Many Hamilton County public school teachers end up buying school supplies with their own money, because some of their students cannot afford to buy school supplies or pay the school supply fee. Walgreens wants to help Hamilton County public school students and teachers have the school supplies they need to start the school year off right. We would especially like to see the business community get more involved."
Mr. Tallman is a member of the East Ridge Chamber of Commerce Counciland invites businesses interested in holding a drive to contact him at 423-624-6854 to inquire about picking up a collection barrel.
The following is a list of current collection locations, events, dates and times. Please contact United Way at 423-752-0300 or visit the website at www.LiveUnitedChattanooga.org for continuing updates:
• All Walgreens stores in Hamilton County are collecting supplies through Saturday, August 18. Just look for the collection barrels near the store entrance.
• All Publix stores in Hamilton County are collecting supplies through Sunday, August 12. Just look for the pre-made school supply bags near the check-out lines.
• Hamilton Place Mall, August 3 & 4, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day for the 25th Anniversary Celebration and Tax Free weekend. United Way volunteers will be selling – for $5 – slices of a 25 square foot cookie donated by the American Cookie Company. Proceeds will be used to buy school supplies for the Hamilton County PTA's Teacher Supply Depot.
• The Chattanooga Market, Sunday, August 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Live United Day. United Way will collect supplies and cash to Stuff the Bus at the Market all day.
• United Way's Campaign Kickoff Luncheon at the Chattanooga Trade and Convention Center, Tuesday, August 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• All meetings of the Social Media Alliance of Chattanooga through the end of 2012. You can find future meeting dates at www.facebook.com/smacnooga and www.community.nooga.org
• The Hamilton County PTA's Teacher Supply Depot, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the old Mary Ann Garber School, 2225 Roanoke Avenue. For more information go to www.hcptacouncil.org.
• The United Way offices at 630 Market Street can receive donations Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Other collection events and locations TBA
Because students' supply needs don't end when school begins, Stuff the Bus will be continued through October. Lists for needed supplies by grade level can be found at http://www.hcde.org/hamilton-county-schools/dress-code-supply-lists. You may also donate dollars to United Way for the purchase of school supplies. Any amount is welcome and all donations are tax deductible.