CHAMBERSBURG-Colorful pencil boxes and speckled composition books spilled out of donation boxes, as volunteers carried supplies into the United Way of Franklin County office last month.
“It has been a very busy 8 weeks for our office, between collecting donations, sorting, and now distributing items before the start of school,” said Amy Hicks, Executive Director of United Way of Franklin County. “We had partners from all over Franklin County helping make this year’s event successful.”
Between July 5th and 31st, UWFC collected donations at 38 area locations, placing nearly 100 donation receptacles in and around the county. And this year, Franklin County residents eagerly stepped up to the challenge.
“Organizations were signing up or calling to request donation boxes almost daily. Several of our donation bins had to be emptied more than once,” Hicks said. “All the way into early September, we were still receiving calls notifying us of donations ready for distribution.”
UWFC staff and volunteers also traveled with a yellow school bus to various community events during July and early August, including the Y Cook Wednesdays event at the Waynesboro YMCA and Chambersfest in Chambersburg, collecting donations onsite.
“The generosity of the community, and the overwhelming volunteer support we received for local students was incredible! Our inventory and distribution process is concluding, and at this point we have tallied over $38,000 in supplies and donations,” said Kimberly Stephens, United Way Community Impact Coordinator
The collected donations are distributed directly to all 5 Franklin County school districts: Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Greencastle-Antrim, Tuscarora, and Fannett Metal.
An email to United Way from one local principal reports, “The needs we are seeing are greater than ever! We have had twice as many families contacting us this year needing assistance to get ready for the first day of school. The supplies you dropped off are sorted and ready to be distributed at our elementary school. What a blessing for our littles.”
Each district has developed its own process for ensuring the supplies end up where most needed. “Some of the districts indicated they will be passing out supplies directly to students, while others will use them to fulfill teacher wish lists,” said Stephens.
A successful event like this would not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers. Over 100 volunteer hours, and over 200 volunteer intern hours were dedicated to planning and executing Stuff the Bus. “United Way helps provide support for so many organizations and individuals in Franklin County. It’s a pleasure for me to be able to play a small part of this effort,” said Robin Yaure, United Way Volunteer.
Although, Stuff the Bus is wrapping up for 2022, the United Way office is in perpetual motion, focusing next on the Community Information Expo, to be held in October. “Stuff the Bus is one of many UWFC volunteer and community action events. From January through December, there are multiple opportunities to get involved and impact the local community,” said Kelly Reynolds, United Way of Franklin County Community Engagement Coordinator
For more information about United Way of Franklin County or volunteer opportunities, visit www.uwfcpa.org or follow United Way of Franklin County on social media.