COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The United Way’s annual campaign to collect school supplies to fill backpacks for local children is officially underway. The United Way held their kick off event for their 6th annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign at Char-Broil Tuesday morning.
The backpacks stuffed with school supplies will benefit local Title I schools, including Reese Road Leadership Academy in Columbus.
“Our students are tremendously excited about them. It’s like Christmas in August for them because they receive these nice backpacks. They receive new school supplies. Students feel equal in the classroom," said Katrina Long, Reese Road Leadership Academy principal.
Long said they have a mixed population of students at their school.
“Some of our students actually come to school with more than others, so we’re able to even the playing field for them and to make sure that they can keep their minds on the main thing, which is their education and not necessarily having the necessary supplies for their classroom," Long explained.
Denise Guthrie with United Way said they have given out almost 19,000 backpacks to students in need, to date.
“We have over 30 Title I schools in our area where over 40% of the children where their families are at the poverty level or below and a lot of parents can’t afford to buy the supplies that their children need," Guthrie said.
The United Way is partnering with local businesses for this effort.
“It’s just important for TSYS to give back to the community. I mean the kids are the future," said Taylor Ogletree with TSYS.
The United Way’s goal is to give away at least 6,000 backpacks this upcoming school year.
The United Way is accepting school supplies at their office in Columbus. The East Alabama Chamber of Commerce in Phenix City is also accepting supplies. They will be collecting supplies through July 19.