On average, teachers spend more than $400 out of pocket to support their classroom and students. Moreover, thousands of students across Northeast Florida start school without the supplies they need to succeed. Thanks to overwhelming support from the community for Stuff the Bus, a partnership with First Coast News, more Duval County classrooms than ever before will start the 2018-2019 school year prepared for academic success.
The goal of this year’s event was to fill two buses with school supplies to benefit over 57,000 students and teachers associated with Full Service Schools and Achievers For Life, two initiatives led by United Way and its partners. United Way exceeded its goal by an entire bus, collecting more than 60,000 school supplies, nearly double the number of supplies collected last year.
“We want to make sure teachers and students have all the necessary tools for this upcoming school year,” said Keto Porter, director of Full Service Schools. “The amount of supplies collected this year is very overwhelming. We have never seen this many school supplies before.”
Stuff the Bus school-supply collection began July 1 with more than 100 United Way corporate partners participating. The drive culminated on a school-supply drop-off day at The Markets at Town Center, where hundreds of Northeast Florida residents dropped off supplies that were then loaded into three school buses on site.
JM Family/Southeast Toyota Distributors remain the reigning champions of United Way’s corporate partner competition. TD Bank took second place. Allstate came in third place. Honorable mentions to MoneySolver and UPS.
Monday, Aug. 6, volunteers from TD Bank and the community unloaded the school buses and sorted the supplies at Andrew Jackson High School. With the help of Enterprise, a company that not only contributed to the supply drive but also donated staff and equipment to distribute supplies, the supplies were then delivered to the appropriate schools.
As a result of Stuff the Bus, nearly 90 schools will receive supplies, helping students focus on learning and saving teachers hundreds of dollars.
“Our teachers have to be well equipped to provide the best instructional experience for students,” said Dr. Tracolya Clinch, principal at Andrew Jackson High School, of the importance of school supplies for teachers and students. “It’s one less thing for students to worry about. When students are well equipped, they can perform better.”