June 18-30 is United Way’s Annual Stuff the Bus School Supply and Backpack Drive

Greater Ottawa County United Way will host its sixth annual Stuff the Bus School Supply and Backpack Drive from Monday, June 18 – Saturday, June 30. Community members are invited to donate school supplies and backpacks for local kids at Fifth Third Bank locations in Ottawa County and at Loutit District Library in Grand Haven. Donations can also be made by texting BUS to 30306.

United Way's Vice President of Volunteer Engagement Shannon LaHaie said, “The Stuff the Bus collection is an opportunity to equip our students with the tools they need to start the school year off right. When struggling families receive backpacks and school supplies they need from this event, they can use their resources to pay for essentials such as food, housing and utilities.”

Backpacks and school supplies are needed for elementary, middle school and high school students. Here are the lists of needed supplies:

Elementary: backpacks, earbuds/headphones, Clorox wipes, dry erase markers & erasers, scissors, glue sticks, pencil boxes, pencils, crayons/colored pencils, washable markers, large erasers, spiral notebooks, 3-ring binders, Post-it notes, composition notebooks, pencil sharpeners, two-pocket folders, pencil top erasers, construction paper, cardstock/tagboard

Middle School: backpacks, earbuds/headphones, dry erase markers, Post-it notes, highlighters, 3-ring binders, loose leaf and/or notebooks, erasers, blank notecards, folders, composition notebooks, canvas pencil/supply cases

High School: backpacks, earbuds/headphones, 3-ring binders, loose leaf and/or notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, Post-it notes, highlighters, markers, erasers, composition notebooks, canvas pencil/supply cases, dry erase markers & erasers, index cards

At the end of August, Stuff the Bus backpacks full of school supplies will be distributed to local kids in need. Students can pick up a backpack in Grand Haven on Wednesday, August 22 from 4:30pm-5:30pm at The Salvation Army located at 310 N. Despelder St. For the Grand Haven pick-up, students need to be pre-registered to receive a backpack. Pre-registration takes place at The Grand Haven Salvation Army through August 10 during office hours. Please bring ID (birth certificate or social security card).

Students can also pick up a backpack in at The Holland Salvation Army located at 104 Clover St. on Thursday, August 16 from 4:00pm-6:00pm. Pre-register by August 3 with The Salvation Army by calling (616) 392-446. Criteria is 150% of the federal poverty level and in our service area. Please bring: ID (This does not have to be a photo ID. A birth certificate is fine), proof of household income, proof of address, social security numbers for household members if available.

Stuff the Bus is a collaboration of Greater Ottawa County United Way, The Salvation Army and Grand Haven Area Public Schools. Two Men and a Truck supplies the collection boxes and helps drop off and pick up boxes during the drive.

Companies hosting in-house Stuff the Bus drives include: Automatic Spring Products, Bekins, Catholic Charities West Michigan, City of Grand Haven, Community Choice Credit Union, Consumers Energy (Campbell Site), Consumers Energy, Center for Women in Transition, Fifth Third Bank, Flex, Four Pointes, Gentex, Grand Haven Custom Molding, Health Pointe, His Harvest Stand, Holland Museum, Loutit District Library, Main Street Pub, Mercantile Bank, Seppo Chiropractic, Snap Fitness, Spring Lake Community Fitness and Aquatic Center, State Farm Insurance Agency, The Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Ferrysburg, Tennant, Vandermill, WHTC Radio and Woodward.

To learn more, or to get involved, contact Shannon LaHaie at (616) 396-7811 x206 or slahaie@ottawaunitedway.org.