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Stuff A Bus Program Benefits Hundreds Of County Students

OSWEGO, NY – Students who need school supplies when they head back to classes next month will find a bus load of donations, thanks to the United Way.

In an effort to ensure every child is prepared for school, the United Way of Greater Oswego County held its annual Success By 6 “Stuff a Bus” campaign at 10 different bus locations around the county.

The buses rolled up to the Leighton Elementary School in Oswego to be unloaded.

Katie Bomgren makes a donation at the bus located in the Oswego Staples parking lot.
Katie Bomgren makes a donation at the bus located in the Oswego Staples parking lot.

No matter where they came from, they all looked the same. The seats were jam-packed with large cardboard boxes instead of school children. The boxes, many of the overflowing with supplies, contained everything from pencils and notebooks to globes and calculators.

“This is really great,” said United Way representative Mary Tetro, one of the dozens of volunteers involved in the program.

Last year’s response was one of the largest in the program’s history. Early estimates put this year’s event on pace to exceed that level, she said, adding, “Only about half the buses have arrived and already we have a ton of stuff.”

After all the boxes were brought into the front hallway of the elementary school, volunteers began the arduous task of separating and sorting all of the donations.

Some members of the Oswego school board assisted the volunteers from the local teachers’ unions, Success By Six and the United Way in unloading the buses and checking in all the donations, which were divided into nine lots and then each of locals took their one-ninth of the collected items back to their district.

Isabella Ponzi makes a donation at the bus in the Oswego Price Chopper parking lot. From left are Mary Audlin, volunteer; Isabella and her mom, Patti; Mary Tetro, of the United Way; and Mike Jwaskiewicz, Price Chopper co-manager.
Isabella Ponzi makes a donation at the bus in the Oswego Price Chopper parking lot. From left are Mary Audlin, volunteer; Isabella and her mom, Patti; Mary Tetro, of the United Way; and Mike Jwaskiewicz, Price Chopper co-manager.

Now, representatives from each school district’s teachers’ association will distribute the supplies on the following dates:

APW School District, Aug. 19, noon – 3 p.m. at the Altmar and Parish elementary schools.

Central Square School District, Aug. 18, 8 – 11:30 a.m. at the District Office.

Fulton School District, Aug. 19, 9 a.m. at the Fairgrieve Elementary School.

Hannibal School District, Aug. 19, 4 – 6 p.m. during orientation at the Hannibal High School Library.

Mexico School District, Aug. 18 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Mexico Elementary.

Oswego City School District, Aug. 18, 10 a.m. at Leighton Elementary School.

Phoenix School District, Aug. 19, 9 a.m. – noon at Maroun Elementary School.

Pulaski School District, Aug. 19, 10 a.m. – noon at the Laura Sharp Elementary School auditorium.

Sandy Creek School District, Aug. 18, 9 a.m. – noon at the District Office.

Supplies not distributed on the above dates will be made available to teachers to give to students in their classes who are not able to purchase the supplies they need. Teachers will assist and guide the children and to make sure that they get the supplies they really need.

Jared Meade helps carry several boxes of school supplies into Leighton Elementary School.
Jared Meade helps carry several boxes of school supplies into Leighton Elementary School.

“This is just awesome,” said Melanie Trexler, executive director of United Way of Greater Oswego County. “School supplies will be available to any child (or family) who would find it challenging to purchase the supplies that their child needs for school.”

The program benefits more than 1,000 students in all nine of the school districts in Oswego County, she added.

“There seems to be a lot more collected this year than in years past, noted Tetro, as the donations continued to arrive. “Things were pretty steady all day at each of the sites. It may not always seem busy but we have more buses, more opportunities for people to donate supplies.”

Employees of the Oswego Wal-Mart took it upon themselves to set up their own site and add the donations to the pile at Leighton.

“They had 42 volunteers,” Tetro said.

“We wanted to do something to help out,” explained Lori Lyons.

It’s not too late to make a donation, Tetro noted.

For more information on the “Stuff-A-Bus” campaign, call 593-1900.

1 Comment

  1. I truly like seeing stories like this. We have seen a program like this in Oswego County and recently there was a similar large scale program in Syracuse to give supplies, backpacks, etc. Programs like this take place every year statewide. Since those in need can get their supplies through charitable programs like this, what precisely is the point of our brilliant governor’s $200 handout for each underpriviliged family to buy school supplies? They can get them through efforts like these. The unregulated $200 will be going to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. David Patterson, once again wisely using our tax dollars. I am so sick of seeing my tax dollars go to waste.

    IF there was a need for $200 per student (which is excessive, I can purchase supplies for my child for less), the state should send that money to school districts and the district can buy supplies in bulk (for a lower price) and distribute the supplies to children who are on the free lunch list. But in fact, there is not even a need for $200 per student from the state due to programs like stuff a bus and Mary Nelson’s program in Syracuse.

    Do tax levying institutions ever do anything right?

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