This week's 'Sun'shine comes delivered to us onboard a beautiful little bus--one that aims to deliver a great start to the 2020-2021 school year for Hernando schoolchildren.
For more than a decade, the United Way of Hernando County has challenged community members to Stuff the Bus; challenging residents to donate the much-needed school supplies that will empower needy children to have a successful scholastic experience. Each year, this event stocks up to nearly 200 classrooms, usually resulting in more than 8,000 pounds in supplies collected and close to $10,000 donated to purchase additional items to fulfill teacher Wish Lists.
In previous years, contributors brought their donations to school buses parked in front of community businesses; allowing them to most literally 'stuff a bus' with a multitude of essential school supplies. Yet in the wake of a global pandemic, the Stuff the Bus experience is morphing with the times. United Way of Hernando County’s 14th Annual Stuff the Bus is being conducted virtually through the month of July. This year's bus will be parked on the Internet, giving donors the opportunity to shop online for nearly 13,500 school supplies needed for Hernando classrooms. These supplies include pencils, glue sticks, paper, crayons, folders, markers, calculators, pens, dictionaries, pencil sharpeners, rulers, notebooks, scissors, and even gift cards for these supplies.
Donors who wish to donate in person to the Stuff the Bus effort can purchase school supplies at participating Hernando Publix and Walmart stores during the month of July, depositing all purchased items into Stuff the Bus drop boxes posted at these businesses.
And those who still wish to Stuff the Bus can do so, thanks to an adorable artistic creation of a bus parked inside Publix at Glen Lakes, 9595 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee.
Justine Peppe is the artist who conceptualized and created a Stuff the Bus collection box that likens an actual school bus; one stuffed to the brim with shiny new school supplies. She is also a Publix employee who works in the store's customer service department.
“We are still trying our hardest to do what we can for our community during this sensitive time," said Peppe. "Stuff the Bus has always had a huge impact on our Glen Lakes Publix because we believe that the students of Hernando County deserve all the tools necessary to receive the best education possible.”
To participate in this year's Stuff a Bus program online, follow this simple step-by-step process:
1. Shop now through the end of July at www.Roonga.com/StuffTheBusHernando
2. August, United Way will receive a shipment of purchased items.
3. Based on the quantities received, each Hernando school will receive a personal delivery from the United Way, one that contains appropriate supplies for different grade levels.
4. When the school year begins, teachers will stock up their classrooms with the vital tools that their students need to succeed.
Check out the United Way website at www.UnitedWayHernando.org/StuffTheBus to learn more about this education initiative.
Care for a photo op with Justine Peppe's one of a kind Stuff the Bus box? If you would like to support the Stuff the Bus effort, hosted locally by the United Way of Hernando County, then please answer this week's 'Sun'shine Summons; an opportunity for Hernando Sun readers to spread their own sunshine.
Those who choose to answer our 'Sun'shine Summons by making a donation to the Bus box, another Stuff the Bus box, or contributing online are encouraged to submit a photo and/or account of their good deed, for inclusion in a future edition of Show Us Your 'Sun'shine. Send these submissions, along with any other good news, to community reporter Megan Hussey at [email protected]