Every September, I have the opportunity to witness the generosity and kindness of thousands of people in our community. As a part of Day of Caring, United Way of Salt Lake holds a public volunteer opportunity and donation drive called Stuff the Bus.
This year, we had over 65 groups in three counties hold school supply drives! We had a variety of church, company, school, Boy Scout, and youth groups participate in collecting donations. In total, we received over 95,000 individual school supplies to help us provide backpacks and supplies to 8,500 students who attend school at over 20 Community Schools and Neighborhood Centers. These at-risk students might not otherwise have the necessary tools for a successful school year.
In the two weeks prior to the Stuff the Bus event, we had a variety of volunteer groups spend hours helping us sort, count, box up and purchase school supplies in preparation for the actual day where we would assemble the backpacks. Many people don’t realize that there are numerous hours of preparation, counting, and moving prior to the day when backpacks can be delivered.
On Thursday September 11, we had over 120 volunteers come to The Gateway to help us stuff 3,600 backpacks with school supplies that were then loaded up in trucks, vans, and other vehicles to make it to their final destinations. It is always such a thrill to watch everything come together. In a matter of 90 minutes thousands of backpacks are loaded, bundled, and ready for delivery!
Our team is so grateful for the support of all who made Stuff the Bus such a resounding success this year! With the help of thousands of people, we were able to provide school supplies to 3,500 more students than we have in the past. To everyone who collected schools supplies, helped us sort and prep school supplies, donated money for school supplies, or who came out and help us package them up — we thank you! Because of your help and support, 8,500 at-risk students in Salt Lake, Davis, and Summit counties are now better equipped to take on the new school year!