Bus to get stuffed with school supplies
Event is 4-8 p.m. today at Harkins
A school bus will be parked outside Harkins Theatres from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday evening, but it’s not because students are enjoying a show on the big screen.
Instead, community volunteers will be stuffing the giant yellow vehicle with school necessities as part of the annual Foundation of Yuma Regional Medical Center’s Drive for School Supplies.
“We are still looking for volunteers to help stuff the bus,” said Serena Holthaus, fund development specialist for the foundation.
School this year begins Aug. 1 for Crane and Somerton schools, Aug. 2 for Yuma Union High School District, Aug. 6 for Yuma District One and Gadsden districts.
The foundation begins the drive each year by asking schools for backpack orders in the late spring. Orders vary from teacher-to-teacher, grade-to-grade and school-to-school.
Fundraising takes place over the summer months, culminating in the “Stuff The Bus” event before school starts, Holthaus explained. In 2017, more than 200 volunteers logged 630 hours during July and August to distribute donation boxes, organize school supplies and pack backpacks.
The foundation collects items such as three-ring binders, pens, pencils, notebook paper, notepads, calculators, rulers and other school-related supplies. The items are then sorted into backpacks (which are also donated) by volunteers each summer and handed out in the fall.
Last year, 5,937 backpacks were donated to 61 schools and 16 organizations at an average cost of $13 each, with the foundation raising $88,801 through donations. This year’s fundraising goal is $76,596 and 5.892 backpacks.
The drive began in 1999 to provide children from low-income families all over Yuma County with basic school supplies to start the new year. The program covers districts in southern Yuma County such as Gadsden as well as outlying districts Dateland and Wellton. Across the river, the foundation also supplies materials to San Pasqual Valley Unified schools.
Donations are still welcome, Holthaus said, as are volunteers who want to come to the event tonight. Donations can be made online at the foundation’s website (www.yumaregional.org/For-TheCommunity/Foundation), or they may mail a check to the Foundation at 2400 S. Avenue A, Yuma, AZ 85364. Telephone donations will be accepted at (928) 336-2445 for those who wish to use a credit card.
A takeover at Chili’s will accompany this evening’s event, and another takeover is set for July 19 at Lutes Casino in downtown Yuma.
To date, the Drive for School Supplies has supplied 53,802 backpacks and raised $620,836.
For more information, call the Foundation at (928) 336-2445 or email at email@example.com.