The United Way of East Mississippi is busy gearing up for its annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign.

“Over the past six years we have collected over $355,000 worth of school supplies, uniforms and monetary donations and estimating that is 5,900 students we have impacted,” explained Lauren Stephens the Summer Intern at the United Way of East Mississippi.

To mark its 7th summer of hosting “Stuff the Bus”, the United Way is expanding the program outside Lauderdale County, into Kemper and Neshoba counties, to make sure more students are prepared for school with proper supplies.

“There are so many kids that don’t have that and so our goal is to help them get what they need so they can be prepared for the first day,” said Stephens.

Leaders with the United Way explain the community is what makes the drive successful, and is asking for anyone to start collecting supplies now. Such as paper, notebooks and even clothes for uniforms.

“Instead of throwing it away, or putting it in a closet somewhere, if it is still in good condition and usable there are a lot of kids who can appreciate them,” said Stephens.

 On average it takes about $200 per child to get the supplies needed for school. A cost that is not in every family’s budget.

“$10 is going to buy a child school supplies, $50 will be for their uniforms, that way if you give a gift of $60 you are sponsoring a child to have everything they need for the first day of school,” said Stephens.

That is why the tangible supplies and donations are needed to help students succeed.

“We do accept monetary donations but every bit of that we will use to buy school supplies and uniforms which will go straight to the kids,” explained Stephens.

By filling up the big yellow school buses, it will help make a difference in the lives of future leaders of the community.

The annual drive will take place July 20th at Raising Canes in Meridian. They are also expanding the campaign to Kemper County on July 27th at the Pilgrims Foodliner and to Philadelphia on August 1st at The Depot.

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