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 “Stuff a Bus” campaign on Wednesday at different bus locations around the county.
“It’s nice to donate. Every year we donate to the schools and it’s a lot of supplies that the kids need now,” said Sue Cognetti of Pulaski.
Cognetti said she donates at the Kinney Drugs Stuff-A-Bus every year.
“I like helping. Kids need stuff for school and this is important,” added Marshall Simmons, also of Pulaski.
At the Oswego Staples location, one good samaratan went into the store and when she came out – she had $150 worth of school supplies to donate.
In Phoenix, the supplies were organized in different boxes in seats on the bus, parked in the Three Rivers Plaza lot on Route 57.
According to the organizers, the bus garage in Phoenix also always contributes to the cause.
“We can’t give every family everything,” Terry Iorio said of Phoenix. “But, it all helps.”
The buses rolled up to Kingsford Park Elementary School’s cafeteria starting around 3 p.m. to be unloaded.
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 spiral notebooks (tons of spiral notebooks) to thumb drives and calculators.
“Everything has worked out very well,” said Menanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way of Oswego County. “Last year we were able to help more than 1,200 students and their families.”
The annual Stuff a Bus Harborfest Breakfast last month raised money to help the effort.
That money was used to buy supplies that were added to the county dontaions, explained Jo Ann Conzone, administrative assistant to the Oswego school superintendent, and chair of the 2012 campaign.
“That bought an awful lot of school supplies,” she said.
After all the boxes were brought into the school, volunteers began the arduous task of separating and sorting all of the donations.
The donations will be divided up among the county’s school districts.
APW – Aug. 17 – 9 a.m. – noon at the APW Bus Garage
Central Square – Aug. 17 – 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Central Square Education Office.
Fulton – Aug. 17 – 9 – 11 a.m. at Fairgrieve Elementary School.
Hannibal – Aug. 17 – 3 – 5 p.m. at the Kenny Elementary School.
Oswego – Aug. 17 – 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Kingsford Park Elementary School Cafeteria.
Pulaski – Aug. 17 – 10 a.m. – noon. at the Pulaski Middle / Senior School.
Sandy Creek – Aug. 16 – 6 – 7 p.m. at the Sandy Creek Elementary School Cafeteria.
Phoenix – Aug. 17 – 9 a.m. – noon at Maroun Elementary School.
Mexico – Aug. 17 – 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Mexico Elementary School.
School supplies will be available for those who would find it challenging to purchase the supplies that their child need for school.
Volunteers will be on hand to assist and guide the children and to make sure that they get the supplies they really need.
For more information on the Stuff-A-Bus campaign contact your United Way office at 593-1900.
Families are urged to attend the distribution in their school district only.
If there are any supplies not distributed on the above dates, they will be made available to teachers to give to students in their classes who are not able to purchase the supplies they need.
The program benefits needy students in all nine of the school districts in Oswego County, Trexler added.
For more information on the “Stuff-A-Bus” campaign, call 593-1900.
(Joleene DesRosiers Moody and Jocelyn Rhodes Cook contributed information and photos for this report)