Stuff the Bus Event Doubles the Haul

It takes a village—and the outpouring of community support for the United Way of Pasco’ssecond annual Stuff the Bus donation drive showed just how committed this village is.

The three-day event, hosted at various Walmart and Publix locations throughout the county, brought in more than $135,000 in supplies, gift cards and checks, school district spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said.

“We’re thrilled,” she said.

About 1,400 volunteers, including current and retired teachers, students, parents and community leaders, manned the collection posts and helped organize the supplies for distribution, Romagnoli said.

Pasco School Board Chairwoman Joanne Hurley volunteered at a drop off location in Wesley Chapel during the donation drive held Aug. 3- 5.  “Whatever you’re giving is going to be so appreciated,” Hurley said she told everyone who came through with a bag of supplies.

On Tuesday, Two Men and a Truck donated trucks and a crew to help volunteers move those supplies from Odessa Elementary School to 690 teachers at 80 schools throughout the county.

The Sunlake High girls weightlifting team spent two days helping to sort and move boxes, Romagnoli said. Students from Mitchell High and Gulf Middle School also volunteered.

The Kids Wish Network donated about $100,000 in supplies, said Shawn Foster, chairman of United Way of Pasco County. The total haul doubled the amount collected during last year’s Stuff the Bus event, he said.

Donations included 4,700 pencils, 1,500 composition notebooks, 4,000 boxes of crayons and more than $5,000 in gift cards and cash, Foster said.

With the budget deficits, all district employees have taken pay reductions. The support of the community means less out-of-pocket expenses for teachers, which is very helpful, Romagnoli said.

This is the type of thing the school district cannot do alone, Hurley said.

“It’s our mission to involve the community,” Hurley said. When parents, teachers and community members come together, “this is when schools are at their best.”

New Port Richey Patch

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Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs.