Stuff the bus goes one-on-oneThe Stuff the Bus campaign, which provides school supplies to Douglas County children in need, is quietly steering toward delivery day. Phones aren’t ringing with requests; there is no media blitz. But Kathi Madsen, executive director of the United Way of Superior-Douglas County, had a message for children and their families.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Stuff the Bus campaign, which provides school supplies to Douglas County children in need, is quietly steering toward delivery day. Phones aren’t ringing with requests; there is no media blitz. But Kathi Madsen, executive director of the United Way of Superior-Douglas County, had a message for children and their families.
“Go to school and trust the supplies will be there,” she said.
The United Way is in the program’s driver’s seat. The organization has been collecting donations and pricing supplies in preparation for distribution next week. The program doled out supplies to approximately 900 students the first year. That number rose to 1,300 last fall. This year, Madsen expected the numbers to spike even higher.
“We know the need’s out there,” she said. “We know it’s bigger.”
When she received preliminary numbers from the Superior School District on Wednesday, Madsen was surprised. Less than 400 students signed up for the fall supplies, possibly due to the new registration procedure.
In the past two years, parents have registered online through the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce or called the United Way or Superior Housing Authority to sign their children up for the program, than converged on the Superior Middle School on a specific day to receive backpacks, paper, pencils, folders and more.
This year, information was sent out in a Superior School District newsletter. Families interested in participating were asked to fill out a form attached to the newsletter and return it. Parents in the Maple and Solon Springs districts were not sent such forms.
Madsen said last year’s numbers will be used to determine the amount of supplies to send to those schools with a few additional supplies.
Also different this year will be the way the supplies are distributed. They will be sent directly to each school. Teachers will make sure students who come to class without supplies get what they need.
“People aren’t having to call up and register, admit they need something,” Madsen said, or walking into the middle school admitting they need something. Instead, it will be a one-on-one process between teacher and child.
“Just get your child to school the first day,” Madsen said, and they will receive supplies.
If parents in the Superior School District still want to sign their child up for the program, forms are available at the front desk of the district administration building, 3025 Tower Ave.
“It’s not too late,” Madsen said.
Even though numbers appear to have dropped, she said, the Stuff the Bus program aims to provide enough supplies to cover last year’s numbers. They will be purchased from Walmart and Target this week.
A number of organizations and churches have offered supplies or funds for the project. While the United Way continues to take such donations, Madsen said the critical need now is for volunteers to help separate and prepare the supplies for transport to each of the schools. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating can contact the United Way at (715) 394-2733.