(August, 3rd, 2016, FORT SMITH, AR) –— The hottest days of the year to date didn’t keep United Way from filling buses with school supplies. Supplies were collected for the 12th annual Fill the Bus drive on Friday, July 22 and Saturday July 23 at Walmart stores in Alma, Booneville, Fort Smith, Greenwood, Ozark, Paris, Poteau, Sallisaw and Van Buren.
Items donated included pens, pencils, paper, crayons, scissors, glue, notebooks, backpacks, kindergarten mats and many other items. Supply lists were handed out at each location to customers as they entered the store.
“We are so grateful to each of the volunteers and to the generous donors, they are changing the lives of children in our six-county area.” said Mitzy Little, United Way Marketing Director. “The stories of how the supplies help local children are many and the need is tremendous. Thousands of children in need in our six-county area will benefit from it. United Way is proud to help in getting those children’s school year off to a better start.” Over 44,000 packages of school supplies were donated during this year’s event.
Volunteers worked shifts on Friday and Saturday helping to hand out flyers and count and sort supplies. The event lasted from 9 am to 9 pm on Friday and from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday. Many area businesses also collected supplies at their offices including Answer Fort Smith, ArcBest Corporation, Baldor, Beall Barclay, BHC Insurance, Breeden Dodge, Citizens Bank, Experian, Golden Living, Graphic Packaging, International Paper, Littlefield Oil Company, Mercy, and Weldon, Williams & Lick.
United Way President, Eddie Lee Herndon said, “Fill the Bus is a great example of our awesome community in action. Hundreds of volunteers came together united to help our children, teachers, and local schools in our six county area. We want to say thank you to our volunteers, Walmart, local media representatives, and the numerous people that donated school supplies during the Fill the Bus event.” All of the supplies collected are distributed to school districts and partner agencies throughout United Way’s six-county service area.
A special thank you to Walmart for allowing United Way to host this event at its stores throughout the region.