‘Stuff the Bus’ hoping to give students in need a good start to the school year

Drop off school supply donations now through August 4
Western Mass News is again partnering with United Way of Pioneer Valley to help kids in need get school supplies for the classroom.
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 2:14 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Yes, school is weeks away from being back in session and while the countdown is on, Western Mass News is again partnering with United Way of Pioneer Valley to help kids in need get school supplies for the classroom.

Stuff the Bus is back. For the nineteenth time in twenty years, United Way of Pioneer Valley is looking to help kids who are homeless get all that they need before the first day of school.

“We would hate the look of a child going to school and not being able to blend in with everybody else who has a nice backpack and brand-new school supplies. We’ve done this for many years because we don’t want children to feel left out,” said Jennifer Kinsman, director of community impact at United Way of Pioneer Valley.

LEARN MORE: Help Us Stuff the Bus

If you want an idea of how big of an impact this cause has on these children, just take a look at last year’s effort. More than 2,000 students in at least two dozen communities in Hampden and Hampshire Counties received assistance, getting anything from pencils to calculators to folders. Kinsman said a lot is needed at this very moment.

“We still need a lot of spiral notebooks, erasers, glue sticks, and things of that type,” Kinsman explained.

United Way has, so far, received monetary donations to get some supplies, including backpacks to put the supplies in. Moreover, other backpacks and supplies have been bought and donated by a third party to give this year’s effort a head start. Kinsman told us there has been an influx in families who are homeless and told us homeless coordinators in each school district stay in touch with the nonprofit on how the kids are doing.

“When we hear these stories of them distributing the backpacks to the students individually, we know it makes a difference,” Kinsman added.

After packing is done, United Way, with help from Peter Pan, will deliver these backpacks by bus to the school districts. It’s a job that Kinsman called heartwarming.

“We’re usually met by either a sports team who helps us unload or some of the school administrators. Often, the superintendent will come out and thank us for doing this. It is a feel-good initiative,” Kinsman noted.

Stop by your favorite store and pick-up some school supplies, then drop them off at our Western Mass News studios weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through August 4. For a list of needed items, click here.