Shoppers, volunteers help Stuff the Bus

Published 1:20 am Sunday, August 7, 2011

Leigh Rowe of Washington, a student at Eastern Elementary School, helps Nicole Howard, director of student services for Beaufort County Schools, sort school supplies donated during the second-annual Stuff the Bus campaign. (WDN Photo/Betty Mitchell Gray)

Shoppers and volunteers braved the heat and threat of rain Saturday to help Beaufort County Schools literally “Stuff the Bus” at the Washington Wal-Mart in a campaign to help provide school supplies to school children who need them.
Families taking advantage of tax-free shopping during the weekend also chose to help others.
“We just like helping people out; helping people less fortunate than we are,” said Charles Bates as he handed a bag of school supplies to Greg Singleton, executive director of federal programs and student support for Beaufort County Schools.
Bates, a Kinston resident, took a break from his weekend at Twin Lakes RV Resort near Chocowinity to visit the local Wal-Mart to stock up on supplies.
While there, he and his family decided to help out the school system’s campaign.
Bates and other donors dropped their bags of supplies outside a yellow-orange school bus parked in front of Wal-Mart for five hours Saturday. Those supplies will be given to students who need them when school starts Aug. 25.
Once the school supplies were loaded on the bus, Nicole Howard, director of student services for Beaufort County Schools, area school children and other school employees sorted the donated items.
As they did last year, volunteer staff members received items that ranged from a few glue sticks or a pack of paper to boxes of notebooks and book bags.
Donations of any amount were appreciated.
“It’s going well,” Howard said as she placed notebook paper, crayons, pencil boxes and backpacks in their assigned seats. “We have had lots of support today.”
Patrice Walker of Washington said because of the recent economic downturn, her family greatly wanted to help others this year.
“We want to help out,” she said, as her daughter, Dannielle, a student at John Small Elementary School, donated a bag of supplies.
“Times are tight.” she said.
Jill Naberhaus of Washington and her granddaughter, Jenna Walker, also donated supplies to the campaign.
“We do it every year because there are a lot of people who need help,” Naberhaus said.
The supplies donated will benefit school children of all ages, Howard said.
Following the end of Saturday’s campaign, donations may continue to be made at the school system’s office at the intersection of Smaw Road and U.S. Highway 264 east of Washington, Howard said.