By MEGAN WILLIAMS
Daily News-Record 7/30/19
HARRISONBURG — It takes a tremendous amount of volunteer time to put on an event like Stuff the Bus, which collects school supplies for area children, according to organizers.
The United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County needs about 350 volunteers to make the event run smoothly. Volunteers work in groups for two-hour shifts the Friday, Saturday and Sunday the event takes place.
The group is currently still seeking volunteers for this year. “We do need volunteers, but they always come out,” said Laura Toni-Holsinger, executive director for United Way. “It’s a unique community effort.”
Stuff the Bus began 14 years ago, as part of a combined effort of a local TV station and radio station that had been hosting separate events.
The supplies collected are divided up between Harrisonburg and Rockingham County schools. The United Way looks at students in the free and reduced lunch population, as well as overall student enrollment.
“Surprisingly it comes out to be 50/ 50,” Toni- Holsinger said. “Harrisonburg has a greater free and reduced lunch, but Rockingham just has more students.”
In an effort to provide supplies for students in need, United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County will partner with Harrisonburg Radio Group, WHSV- TV3, Salvation Army and local Walmarts to host the 14th annual Stuff the Bus school supply drive for low-income children in our community.
Stuff the Bus is an annual fundraiser event held during the tax-free weekend in August. Volunteers collect donated school supplies outside of local Walmart stores.
The supplies are then distributed through all Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County public schools, where they are given out to students.
This year, Stuff the Bus will take from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. Friday to Sunday at the Walmart stores in Harrisonburg, Dayton and Timberville.
Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro also host Stuff the Bus events. Although through different organizations, the event is branded the same, said Toni-Holsinger.
This year’s goal for the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County sites is $110,000 worth of supplies.
Needed items include glue sticks, pencils, pens, back packs, scissors, tape, hand sanitizer, colored pencils and Kleenex. For a full list of needed items visit the Stuff the Bus website at uwhr.org/Stuff-the-Bus.
For those wishing to volunteer their time, you can sign up for a time slot at getconnected.uwhr.org. The website updates in real time once a time slot has been claimed.