The Norman Transcript

July 21, 2013

Fourth annual ‘Stuff the Bus’ fundraiser set to provide school supplies for area students in need

By Arianna Pickard
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — School supply donations are needed to stuff a school bus to provide for nearly a thousand Cleveland County students whose families can’t afford supplies.

The Rotary Interact Club of Norman North is teaming up with United Way’s Teen Advisors of Norman to collect school supplies for students at the fourth annual “Stuff the Bus” fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Sooner Mall parking lot.

The supplies will be distributed through the United Way of Norman’s annual ABC School Supply program, which serves low- to moderate-income families in Norman, Noble, Little Axe, Lexington and Robin Hill school districts, according to a press release.

Without this program, almost 1,000 students in Cleveland County, two-thirds of which are in Norman, would have to start school without any supplies, said Diane Murphree, director of community impact at United Way. Last year, the program provided school supplies to 974 students in the county.

In particular, the Stuff the Bus fundraiser helped more than 150 students at Kennedy Elementary and Irving Middle School get everything they needed to start off the school year, Murphree said. It raised about $10,000 in cash and supplies.

The fundraiser began with a group of teenage students who couldn’t imagine not being able to buy necessary school supplies, she said. So the students decided to step up and help children whose parents might not be able to purchase supplies.

“It is amazing to see how this can boost their self-esteem as they start their school year with new school supplies like the rest of their class,” said Elizabeth Base, director of the University of Oklahoma College of Law’s Office of Professional and Career Development.

Preferred donations include writing utensils, school boxes, spiral notebooks, folders, glue, paper and pencil sharpeners.

Those unable to attend the Stuff the Bus fundraiser can donate online at unitedwaynorman.org or can drop off supplies July 10-26 at the following locations:

· BancFirst: 1201 W. Main St., and 333 12th Ave. E

· First American Bank: 570 24th Ave. NW and 801 12th Ave. NE

· Republic Bank & Trust: Robinson Street and 36th Avenue Northwest, Lindsey Street and 12th Avenue Southeast, and 401 W. Main St.

· United Way of Norman: 2424 Springer Drive, Suite 304

· Norman Chamber of Commerce: 115 E. Gray St.