United Way Releases Stuff the Bus Wish List for Teachers
Hernando’s Annual School Supply Drive Returns to In-Person Event
Spring Hill, FL – (May 17, 2021) Last summer, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated United Way of Hernando County’s annual Stuff the Bus event to adapt to a virtual platform for purchasing school supplies for Hernando classrooms. With no in-person volunteering at select locations to advertise this initiative and collect, supplies were limited for distribution. It was in large thanks to Hernando’s Publix Stores for also hosting internal supply drives and promoting this unmet need to customers. On August 19th, 2020, United Way successfully completed a direct delivery of over 4,195 lbs. of school supplies to all Hernando County Schools, which was approximately half of the amount distributed prior year.
On April 14, 2021, the Hernando County School District announced that the Digital Home Learning option for students will end this school year on June 18th. With all students returning to classrooms in the fall, now more than ever teachers and students will need support. “Teachers are an integral part of our community,” said United Way of Hernando County Executive Director Angie B. Walasek. “Over the course of the pandemic, teachers everywhere have faced unexpected struggles with having to adapt in new and sometimes difficult ways, between both in-person and virtual learning platforms. We could never show enough appreciation for the work teachers accomplish, both academically and personally for students. Supplying them with items most needed for a successful school year is a start.”
As the world continues to re-open, United Way is eager to move forward with hosting their 15th Annual Stuff the Bus in-person at Hernando’s eight Publix Stores on Friday, July 16th, Saturday, July 17th, and Sunday, July 18th. Over the course of the Stuff the Bus weekend, teachers and volunteers will be advocating for local classroom needs and collecting school supplies at store entrances/exits from 11am-5pm. For the safety of customers and volunteers, scannable QR codes will be incorporated on banners and signs instead of distributing supply wish list flyers. This is to help enforce social distancing as an additional precaution. Some of the most needed items are: backpacks, pens, pencils, glue sticks, spiral and composition notebooks, crayons, 3 prong folders, and copy paper. All of the items collected by generous donors will be distributed back to the teachers who volunteered their time for this event in order to help prepare incoming students to be ready to learn and succeed in school.
Hernando Teachers: Stuff the Bus Wish Lists are officially open! Visit www.UnitedWayHernando.org/StuffTheBus. United Way has made it easy to sign up to volunteer and complete a Wish List for desired items. Teachers who volunteer at least two hours over the Stuff the Bus weekend will qualify.
A special thank you to United Way Partner in Education, HCA Oak Hill Hospital
for supporting this annual effort.
If you are NOT a teacher but would like to volunteer your time for Hernando’s Stuff the Bus, please contact the United Way office to sign up for an available shift by emailing outreach@UnitedWayHernando.org or call 352-688-2026.
(Pictured L to R: UW Board Member Kelly Gormley, UW volunteer Lindsay Dobrowolski,
Eastside Elementary School Principal Mike Lastra, & UW CEO Angie B. Walasek
delivering Stuff the Bus supplies in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic)
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.