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by Marjorie Vaneskahian
What’s better than a new box of crayons or a brand new backpack for the first day of school? Many local children won’t know the excitement of a bag of new school supplies the first day without the help of a caring community to fill the bus. Allen Community Outreach, the Allen ISD and the Allen Chamber of Commerce began a collaborative project in 2003 to provide hundreds of local students with much-needed school supplies—Fill the Bus.
Each year bright yellow Allen ISD school buses are parked at supporting business locations around town with banners announcing "Fill the Bus." Wherever you see a bus parked you may drop off new school supplies. The Allen Community Outreach volunteers will then be collecting the supplies. They will sort, bag and box them all to make sure they get in the hands of the students who need them.
Families may come into the ACO office and sign up to receive supplies for their child if they qualify. They may call the ACO office to determine what qualifications they must meet. Boxes of bulk supplies will also be delivered to the schools the week before school starts so that teachers or counselors can distribute the supplies to students as they see the need.
Last year, supplies were collected for more than 2400 students. But the need was greater than the number of supplies collected. With the economy hitting even harder this year the demand will increase. Cost of the average school supply list can run as much as $50 per child. That’s more than a family can absorb when forced to choose between putting food on the table or buying notebook paper, folders and a long list of supplies. Many times the burden to make up the difference in the shortage of supplies is placed on the school or on the teacher.
Allen, Fairview and Lucas are such caring and giving communities that when the need is put out into the community, the community responds! We hope you will help us provide smiles on the first day of school by purchasing a few supplies when you are buying supplies for your child. Or, if you don’t have to buy for your own child, please help someone else’s child. I assure you that there will be many little smiles on distribution day when we give those bags of new school supplies to kids who were afraid there would be none!
Folders with brads and/or pockets
1" 3-ring binders
Washable school glue
4X6 index cards
9x12 manila paper
12x18 manila paper
Black/blue ink pens
Dry erase markers
9x12 construction paper
12x18 construction paper
Payless Shoe $5 gift certificates
To make a financial donation to support the Fill the Bus program for a local student go to www.acocares.org or call 972.727.9131 for more information.
Marjorie Vaneskahian is the director of volunteer services at ACO.