TEXARKANA — This year's Stuff-the-Bus campaign is in full swing, with area schools receiving over 1,800 backpacks this year, according to a United Way of Greater Texarkana press release.
Pick-ups and deliveries have started. The COVID-19 pandemic made things tougher, the release states, however, the STB Committee co-chaired by Rephonnie Roberts & Jennifer Lewis was not going to let these difficult times derail the Stuff the Bus efforts in the Texarkana region.
Normally, school supply drop off bins were placed at area businesses, carhop fundraisers were held and solicitation tents blanketed the area asking for school supplies for the students. But the events that unfolded because of the pandemic, caused the committee to brainstorm for alternative solutions.
The United Way of Greater Texarkana spearheaded a spirited group of Civic Clubs — Rotarians & Kiwanians — Texarkana Resources, area businesses, specific grants written, along with individual donors to raise the necessary funds to purchase this year's supplies.
"Committee member Lauren Layne & Rephonnie found ways to stretch the dollars by purchasing from bulk suppliers. It's terrific the way our community comes together to take on an issue and provide solutions!" said Mark Bledsoe, president of United Way of Greater Texarkana President. "The co-chairs and committee members made great strides to overcome a plethora of obstacles.
"We were concerned that we might not be able to reach the numbers reached in the past few years; however we'll probably surpass last year's numbers!" Texarkana Resources, Marcia Austin was able to see that the workers at TR fulfilled the school orders, items were inventoried and separated accordingly. UWGT Vice President Molly Riley worked the phones continuously to look for underwriters for the supplies.
Several school district, including L-EISD and TISD, have picked up their backpacks with about 10 districts remaining. Those needing backpacks should place a request with their school counselors.
This story will be updated.