“Stuff the Bus” Event Prospers Despite Pandemic
Community Donates Thousands of Pounds in School Supplies to United Way’s Annual Drive
Spring Hill, FL – (August 27, 2020) – United Way of Hernando County’s 14th Annual Stuff the Bus event may have looked different this year due to COVID-19, but as always, the community came together to support local classrooms. The online event lasted from July 1st until August 7th, with approximately 4,195 lbs. being collected between the virtual Roonga.com donations and the supplies collected from Hernando Publix stores. Items included 2,434 glue sticks, 2,331 packs of pencils, and 2,215 notebooks, among thousands of others.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the on-going impact of the coronavirus pandemic, especially upon the continuing education of students and how best to support their learning environment, United Way acutely understood how vital it was to continue advocating for Hernando County classrooms, whether they were in-person or virtually from the student’s own home. Since students would be unable to share supplies while at school due to the risk of possible transmission, Stuff the Bus had to adapt to still meet the needs of teachers who relied on the donations.
The event quickly and effectively shifted to a virtual platform on Roonga.com, where donors could shop for school supplies safely from their homes and have them delivered right to United Way’s door. All 8 Hernando Publix stores also participated with Stuff the Bus by hosting a drop box to collect school supplies for those who still wished to shop in-person. This was a necessary change made to protect staff, teachers, and volunteers from the possibility of transmission of the coronavirus.
Limited volunteers, appropriately masked and socially distanced, gathered at the Hernando Parent Academy East Family Center location to count and sort the collected supplies, which were then divided up by school and grade level. Hernando County Schools Superintendent John Stratton stopped by the Parent Academy to thank United Way for their continual support of teachers and schools. Supplies were then loaded onto school buses and personally delivered to each school. Thank you to the Hernando County Transportation Department for lending two buses and a helping hand to load, unload, and help deliver supplies to all 23 Hernando schools.
Teachers and school faculty were thrilled to receive boxes of items for their supply closets. The items will be distributed by schools administration throughout the year to where they are needed the most, thereby providing the necessary tools that students need to succeed.
Thank you to our Partners in Education, Publix Super Markets for coordinating drop-off boxes for in-person donation, and for dropping off the collected supplies to the United Way office. A special thank you goes to Hernando County residents for continuing to LIVE UNITED by supporting local classrooms during an uncertain time.
(Pictured left to right: Superintendent John Stratton with UWHC CEO Angie B. Walasek. United Way staff, Board Members, and Hernando County Schools Transportation Department load up two buses for direct school deliveries on August 19, 2020.)
United Way of Hernando County, Inc.:
United Way of Hernando County (UWHC) was established as a 501c3 organization in 1987, and since then has continuously focused on creating partnerships and mobilizing our community to seek sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing local needs. UWHC strategically allocates Community Investment Funds in Health, Education, & Financial Stability programs with proven results and local impact. UWHC works hard to balance the growing demand for basic services such as food, utilities, and rent assistance, with our ongoing commitment to tackling the underlying causes of complex issues. United Way partners with businesses and organizations that share our vision for improving lives through the power of collective impact and working together. Our support for long-term commitments are essential to addressing key social issues, such as helping children, youth, adults & elders, encouraging health and wellness, including physical and emotional care, promoting financial stability and self-sufficiency, and crisis intervention. For more information on how YOU can LIVE UNITED, visit www.UnitedWayHernando.org.