08/09/18 — Wayne County stuffs the bus

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Wayne County stuffs the bus

By Sierra Henry
Published in News on August 9, 2018 5:50 AM

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Judy Scott passes Julie Beck a backpack through the window of her car Wednesday for the Stuff the Bus school supply drive. Scott, who has a 5-year-old grandson starting school this year, said "I was so excited to do this."

Despite the heat and glaring sun, people from all over Wayne County stopped by the Goldsboro News-Argus with bags of school supplies in hand to stuff a school bus full of donations.

Nearly every seat on the bus had a pink or blue tote full of school supplies such as notepads, binders, pencils or backpacks by the end of Wednesday afternoon. Some even had trash bags full of donated goodies for the start of the new school year.

The 18th annual Stuff the Bus campaign is a donation drive by Communities Supporting Schools in Wayne County, in partnership with the Goldsboro News-Argus.

According to Selena Bennett, Communities Supporting Schools executive director, all donations will be taken to Greenwood Middle School where they will be organized and divided as evenly as possible and distributed to public schools throughout Wayne County.

"I feel really good about today," Bennett said Wednesday during the school supply drive. "It's been pretty steady all day. We started out with a lot of people early this morning ... I think we will have probably a lot more than I even realize when we start unpacking and counting."

Volunteers from CSS were on hand early in the morning, starting at 8 a.m., to receive donations until the drive was complete by 4 p.m.

For Sharon Patterson, a success coach from CSS, volunteering for Stuff the Bus was a way for her to give back to the community. As a success coach mentoring and helping students succeed in school, Patterson often uses the supplies donated through the Stuff the Bus campaign for students who might not otherwise be prepared for school.

Every week, Patterson and the other success coaches set out a table of school supplies. They do not ask questions. They only want the kids to be prepared and have the items they need to succeed in school.

"So many kids are unprepared," Patterson said. "If I can help you by giving you a pencil to make your day and you don't have to ask a teacher ... We're helping you be prepared.

"Stuff the Bus -- that's where we get all our stuff from, in addition to donations," Patterson said. "Kids need supplies, and no one wants to feel left out on the first day of school if you don't have all of the supplies."

Christy Barnes is a new board member for CSS and wanted to volunteer to help the campaign. As the school liaison officer for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, she knows how important it is to help students have access to the supplies they need.

"It's important to boost the morale of the students," Barnes said. "As a child or student coming to school and already knowing you have your supplies there waiting on you is really nice, especially if it's a family that cannot afford to purchase a whole lot of things.

"It's really important for the community to come together and boost up our students and make sure they're successful at the start of school."

The Stuff the Bus campaign will continue to collect school supply donations, which can be dropped off at the Goldsboro News-Argus, located at 310 N. Berkeley Blvd., or at the Communities Supporting Schools office, which is located inside the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce building at 308 N. William St.

Financial contributions are also being accepted and will be used to purchase additional school supplies for children.

The suggested list of items to donate includes pens, pencils, markers, crayons, mechanical pencils, boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer and thumb drives. Marble composition books and loose-leaf notebook paper are always in demand. Backpacks are also being accepted, including small backpacks for elementary school children and larger backpacks for students in middle and high school.

Communities Supporting Schools has coordinated the Stuff the Bus campaign during the past 18 years, with the need as great as it was when the effort started in 2000.

For more information, Bennett can be reached at 919-735-1432 or sbennett@waynecss.org. The organization's website is at www.waynecss.org.