Supplies for local students fill transit buses
HUNTINGTON -- Students throughout the Tri-State have been packing themselves into buses and heading back to school for a few weeks now, but an event Saturday stuffed buses as full as they could for the benefit of those students.
The fourth annual Stuff the Bus event, hosted by United Way of the River Cities, allowed for local Tri-State Transit Authority buses to open their doors to donations of school supplies, food and other personal items for area students. The idea is to assist them in achieving success in pursuing their education, said Kaylin Adkins, director of marketing for United Way.
In addition to the TTA, United Way also partnered with Huntington Bank and Ohio University Southern-Proctorville Center in order to reach as many students as possible, Adkins said.
"Every student needs these items to be successful," Adkins said. "We want to reach out to as many students as possible. We want to make sure they are as successful as possible and that we get out into the community, not only to raise awareness for what United Way does, but we want to help parents and students as much as we can."
TTA buses were set up at Walmart stores in Barboursville, Wayne and along U.S. 60 in Huntington. For the first time in the event's history, there was a Stuff the Bus location in Lincoln County at the Family Dollar store in Hamlin.
Information collected by Huntington Bank suggests that the donations of supplies is needed more than ever this year.
For the past eight years, Huntington Bank has been tracking the cost of sending children to grades K-12 with its Annual Backpack Index. This year, the index indicated the cost has jumped as much as 20 percent, one of the largest year-over-year increases in the eight-year history of the index.
According to the index, parents of elementary school students can expect to spend $642 for school supplies this year. Parents of middle school children should expect to pay $918 for their supplies, and supplies for high school students are expected to cost $1,284 for the year.
Tom Bailey, community president with Huntington Bank, spent his day at the Walmart along U.S. 60 in Huntington.
He said the Stuff the Bus project is near and dear to the bank, and it is a way to support this generation of students as so many of them live through circumstances that often go unnoticed.
"These are challenging times, and so many families have fallen on hard times as a result," Bailey said. "You see these kids, and some of them, if they aren't in school, they don't eat. I think that goes unnoticed, and we need to help them.
"I can't help but to think, 'If not us, then who?'"
Follow Reporter Lacie Pierson on Twitter, @LaciePiersonHD.
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