‘Stuff the Bus’ collects school supplies
Isabelle Sullivan is the event’s organizer. She also is the church’s connections director, which puts her in charge of its missions and community outreach efforts.
According to Sullivan, Stuff the Bus is an outgrowth of the church’s involvement in Tools for Schools, a program sponsored earlier this year by timberland the Chesterfield County Department of Social Services that gathered backpacks for local students.
During the most recent installment of New Life United Methodist Church’s Vacation Bible School, its members gathered and filled 17 bags with school supplies. Those knapsacks were then donated to Tools for Schools.
“Tools for Schools identified children who are receiving social services (in Chesterfield), and we stuffed those backpacks with everything on their lists,” Sullivan said. “Last year, they did about 1,200.”
Sullivan said New Lif timberland e has been working closely with the Chesterfield County Department of Social Services for a few years. The relationship began when the church wanted to donate cords of wood from its firewood ministry to needy area families and sought the department’s help.
“We started a wood ministry for people who needed wood to heat their homes and bring down their heating costs,” Sullivan said. “Through that relationship with Social Services, we found out that 1,200 kids needed backpacks.”
But, in addition to being a charitable event, Stuff the Bus also is a street fair of sorts. Attractions will include a kid sized train, a moon bounce and an assortment of midway style games.
“It’s a trackless train,” Sullivan said. “I would say that the age range for the train would be elementary (school aged) and younger.”
“As for games, we’ll have things like a pitch first, which is a baseball game with water balloons, a basketball toss, an old fashioned cake walk and a duck game,” Sullivan added. So, what kinds of items should people donate during Friday’s event?
“Just your typical school supplies things like composition notebooks, flash drives, binders, paper and erasers,” Sullivan said. “Mainly, it’s the things that kids run out of the most.”
“And, as a former teacher for Richmond Public Schools, I have seen that paper, pencils, composition notebooks and glue sticks were the things that kids needed most often,” Sullivan said.
Pupils need the proper supplies in order to prosper, and, as Sullivan said, having those timberland items at hand takes the pressure off of students and teachers alike.
“New Life Church and our congregation want to be able to set up the schools and children for success,” Sullivan said. “When they’re not worried about where the supplies are coming from, they can focus on their lessons.”
“And, instead of teachers spending their own money or student timberland s feeling singled out because they don’t have what they need, they can focus on what they’re there for, which is learning,” Sullivan added.