With the start of a new school year only weeks away, United Way of Sumner County (UWSC) is working with partners throughout the county to help make sure students have the basic materials they need on the first day of class.

UWSC’s Stuff the Bus school supply drive runs through July 24. Supplies can be dropped off at any Chamber of Commerce office in Sumner County, or at the United Way office. Complete details on this year’s drive, including drop-off locations, supply lists, volunteer opportunities, sponsor-a-student information, and more, can be found at www.unitedwaysumner.org.

Last year’s Stuff the Bus made it possible to provide backpacks and supplies to more than 650 disadvantaged students and numerous schools. According to UWSC President/CEO Dana M. Given, the number of students who need assistance in Sumner County is not decreasing.

“Almost 40 percent of Sumner County students are eligible for the Free-and-Reduced Lunch Program,” Given said. “That tells us that many families are not in a position to purchase all the things their children need to be successful at school. By providing students with basic supplies, we can help send them to school better prepared to succeed. Stuff the Bus is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved and make a difference in our community, and we are very excited about working with our partners, individuals, businesses, and churches across Sumner County to positively impact as many lives as we can.”

Stuff the Bus has many ways for you and your business to get involved and make a difference in the lives of local students in addition to buying and donating supplies, including:

* Sponsoring one or more students with a $60 donation per child, and UWSC will purchase needed supplies. You can visit the Stuff the Bus web page at www.unitedwaysumner.org to donate online or to download a printable version of the student sponsorship form and mail it in with your contribution today.

* Hosting a school supply collection drive at your business, church, or civic club event. United Way will provide you with signs and collect the donated supplies at the end of the drive.

* Volunteering to pick up and transport donations to a central location;

* Volunteering at our July 30 Pack-A-Thon, where donated supplies will be stuffed into backpacks; and

* Volunteering to help at our Distribution Day on Aug. 1.

For more information about how you or your group can get involved with Stuff the Bus, visit www.unitedwaysumner.org or contact United Way of Sumner County Special Events Coordinator Lindsay McMillan at lindsay@unitedwaysumner.org, or call her at (615) 461-8371.

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