OSWEGO, NY – The calendar may say back to school time is right around the corner. However, according to Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, for many students, “it’s going to be just like Christmas morning.”
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 at different bus locations around the county.
The buses rolled up to Oswego Middle School’s cafeteria starting around 3 p.m. Wednesday to be unloaded.
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 spiral notebooks (tons of spiral notebooks) to thumb drives and calculators.
“Everything has worked out very well,” Trexler said. “Last year we were able to help around 1,200 students and their families. This year looks like our largest ever!”
The annual Stuff a Bus Harborfest Breakfast raised more than $3,400 last month.
That money was divided in half at the Oswego and Fulton Wal-Marts, according to Jo Ann Conzone, administrative assistant to the Oswego school superintendent, who is helping the United Way coordinate the effort.
“Mixed with their donations, that bought an awful lot of school supplies,” she said.
“This is more than $2,100 worth of school supplies tat we’re loading right now,” said a Wal-Mart associate as she and others loaded huge boxes of supplies on the bus in their parking lot.
Noah and Avery Orr made it a point to stop on their way out of the store to donate a couple of bags of supplies to the cause. “They saw the bus, and wanted to help out,” their mother explained.
Vicki Vescio, of SUNY Oswego, dropped off three boxes of binders, paper, pens and pencils – “everything a student needs to start the school year,” she said. “There’s a good variety of stuff.”
After all the boxes were brought into the middle 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.
Now, representatives from each school district’s teachers’ association will distribute the supplies on the following dates:
APW – Day, time and location to be announced
Central Square – Aug. 12, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Central Square Education Office.
Fulton – Aug. 12, 9 – 11 a.m. at Fairgrieve Elementary School.
Hannibal – Aug. 12, 1 – 3 p.m. at the Kenny Middle School.
Oswego – Aug. 12, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Oswego Middle School Cafeteria.
Pulaski – Aug. 12, 1 – 3 p.m. at the Pulaski Middle / Senior School.
Sandy Creek – Aug. 11, 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Sandy Creek Elementary School Cafeteria.
Phoenix – Aug. 12, 9 a.m. – noon at Maroun Elementary School.
Mexico – Aug. 12, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Mexico Elementary School.
Families are urged to attend the distribution in their school district only.
School supplies will be available for those who would find it challenging to purchase the supplies that their child need for school. Teachers will be on hand to assist and guide the children and to make sure that they get the supplies they really need.
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.
Teachers will assist and guide the children and to make sure that they get the supplies they really need.
The program benefits needy students in all nine of the school districts in Oswego County, Trexler added.
Among the many individuals and groups helping to ensure all students who need supplies get them, were: Burritt Motors in Oswego, Oswego Health, SUNY Oswego and The Clubhouse Tavern for hosting the United Way’s sixth annual Harborfest Breakfast (chaired by Dan Dorsey, of Eagle Beverage).
For more information on the “Stuff-A-Bus” campaign, call 593-1900.