Monday, August 8, 2022

Schuylkill United Way Stuffs Over 2,100 Backpacks

Schuylkill United Way Stuffs Over 2,100 Backpacks

Thanks to the donations from around Schuylkill County, the Schuylkill United Way was able to fill more backpacks for students than any other year.

In a statement from the United Way, "It is true what the old proverb says: It takes a village to raise a child. Fortunately for our children, they have an entire county behind them."

This year the organization was able to fill 2,115 backpacks for area kids, the largest collection in the 20-year history of Schuylkill United Way’s Stuff the Bus program.

Melissa Carr, Guidance Counselor for St. Clair schools, stated, “Especially with the recent inflation there is a bigger burden on our families to supply the needed materials…we want to thank the Schuylkill United Way Stuff the Bus program for their generous yearly donation to our students with backpacks and school supplies.”

The backpacks and school supplies are distributed to schools, organizations, individuals, and SUW’s Partner Agencies across the county. 

One of those Partner Agencies is Big Impact Group of Schuylkill County (BIGS), a mentoring program
for kids operating in eight county school districts. 

Their Executive Director, Doug Allen, shared, “The parents in our program look forward to the Schuylkill United Way’s Stuff the Bus because they know their kids will get quality backpacks filled with everything their child will need to get off to a great start in school. This allows for the parents to
maybe afford additional clothes or uniforms, provide a musical instrument, or sports equipment for their child that they may not be able to get without the SUW’s help.”

Each backpack will be stuffed with crayons, pencils (donated by Mid-Penn Bank), pens and dry erase markers (donated by Wegmans), erasers, folders, notebooks, colored pencils, glue sticks, pencil pouches, scissors, highlighters, hand sanitizer (donated by St. Luke’s Miners Campus), tissues (donated by Lehigh Valley Health Network), and a miscellaneous item. 

As part of their 150th anniversary celebrations, First Citizens Community Bank donated 150 stuffed backpacks.

The employees of Honeywell generously donated 100 backpacks and supplies, and the staff of Lehigh Valley Hospital –Schuylkill donated 68 backpacks in addition to other items. 

Hidden River Credit Union and Hexcel employees and patrons donated 24 and 15 backpacks and items respectively.

For the second year, Staples provided the United Way the opportunity to purchase pre-packaged school supply boxes featuring 19 name brand items for just $5.00 where nearly 1,100 boxes were purchased. 

McGriff Insurance purchased 280 more boxes as a special donation and to Mrs. T’s purchased 50 boxes.

The Schuylkill United Way also thanked Boyer’s Food Markets and Evans Delivery for their financial support of this program and BG’s Value Market in Minersville and Pine Grove and the Beer Shak on Route 183 for selling Stuff the Bus icons to support the program.
Over 100 volunteers gave their time and sweat during the heat wave to unload, sort, stuff, count, and organize the many, many supplies! 

A very special thanks was also given to the 2022 Schuylkill United Way High School Football Challenge Champions – the Blue Mountain Eagles – and their head coach, Tom Gallagher who lent helping hands to unload and prep donations. 

The United Way was also thankful for the generosity and flexibility of the Salvation Army Pottsville Corps. who house the donations and provide our assembly and distribution space.

Since 2002, Schuylkill countians have helped to fill over 21,000 backpacks.

The Schuylkill United Way Partner Agencies that will benefit from donors’ kindness are as follows:
  •  American Red Cross,
  • Big Impact Group of Schuylkill County
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Child Development, Inc.
  • Nurse-Family PartnershiP
  • Pottsville Salvation Army
  • Schuylkill County Society for Crippled Children
  • Schuylkill YMCA
  • Schuylkill Hope
  • Center for Victims of Domestic Violence
  • and Schuylkill Wellness Services. 
We are also able to help additional organizations including Jerusalem Day Care, Schuylkill Community Action, Schuylkill I.U. 29, and many school districts in the county.

The Schuylkill United Way thanks the following locations for serving as public drop off locations:
  • Ashland Public Library
  • Boyers Food Market (Ashland, Frackville, Orwigsburg, Pottsville, Schuylkill Haven, Shenandoah)
  • First Citizens Community Bank (Schuylkill Haven and Friedensburg)
  • Hidden River Credit Union (Hometown, Orwigsburg, Pottsville)
  • J. Bertolet Volkswagen
  • Mother Bear's Candy (Rt. 183 Schuylkill Haven)
  • Orwigsburg Public Library
  • Pine Grove Pharmacy
  • Pottsville Public Library
  • RWB Autos (Ashland & Schuylkill Haven)
  • Schuylkill Haven Public Library
  • Schuylkill YMCA

Companies and organizations hosting internal supply drives among their employees included:
  • Amazaon - Bethel, PA
  • Eastern Schuylkill Democratic Club
  • Evans Delivery
  • Frackville Senior Center
  • Geisingers/St. Luke's Hospital
  • Hexcel
  • Honeywell
  • Hydro
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network
  • MAE-Eitel, Inc.
  • Primary Health Network (Minersville & Shenandoah)
  • Providence Place (Pine Grove)
  • Republican Herald
  • Shalmet
  • St. Luke's Miners Campus
  • TE Connectivity
If your child(ren) is/are in need of school supplies and a bookbag, please contact the Schuylkill United Way office at(570) 622-6421 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.