Back-to-school costs can be challenging, even for families not already struggling financially – for families that are struggling, they can be crippling.
The annual Stuff the Bus school supply donation drive – a collaboration among United Way of Williamson County (UWWC), UWWC’s Patricia Hart Society, GraceWorks Ministries, Publix, Westview United Methodist Church in Fairview and Bethesda United Methodist Church – aims to ease this financial burden.
“Any parent can tell you how expensive it is to equip their children for the school year,” said Debby Rainey, vice president of Strategic Initiatives for United Way of Williamson County. “You look at the cost of a pack of crayons or a spiral notebook and it doesn’t seem too bad, but when you add up all the little expenses – and multiply that by each child – it becomes a different story.”
According to the Huntington Backpack Index, the average cost of school supplies for one elementary student in 2016 was $195.62, and that number jumped to $327.43 for a middle school student and $374.01 for a high school student.
And these costs don’t include clothing, fees or most technology-related expenses.
For families with multiple school-age children, back-to-school expenses could easily cost more than a thousand dollars. When a family is already struggling financially, this could mean household bills falling to the wayside, skimping on groceries or sending students to school without the tools they need.
None of these scenarios are ideal for a student’s academic success.
Stuff the Bus aims to remove barriers to learning by making sure students don’t have to worry about whether they have the supplies they need and can instead focus on learning.
Through July 17, the Patricia Hart Society will be collecting items that will be given out to students at events organized by GraceWorks Ministries, Westview United Methodist Church in Fairview and Bethesda United Methodist Church.
These giveaway events will be held Aug. 5, just in time for the new school year.
In 2016, Stuff the Bus helped provide more than 2,500 backpacks filled with supplies valued at $125,000 to kids in Williamson County.
Items particularly needed this year include:
• Composition books
• Glue sticks
• Crayons (Crayola)
• 3-ring binders (2-inch)
Donations can be dropped off at United Way of Williamson County’s office, located at 209 Gothic Court, Suite 107, in Franklin, during normal business hours.
Clubs or employers interested in hosting a donation drive in support of Stuff the Bus may contact Debby Rainey at email@example.com or 615-771-2312, ext. 13.
About United Way of Williamson County
United Way of Williamson County is committed to creating real change and measurable improvements in the day-to-day lives of thousands of people. We bring together people, companies and organizations from across our local community to identify and support solutions to our most critical issues. Serving Williamson County for 55 years, United Way of Williamson County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. Because change doesn’t happen alone. To live better, we must Live United. To find out more, please visit uwwc.org or call 615-771-2312.