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 foun­da­tione­mail@yu­mare­gional.org.

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