Monday, January 17, 2022
Jan. 17, 2022

Linkedin Pinterest

Stuffing the Bus for needy students

School supplies collected for Evergreen, Vancouver pupils

By , Columbian Education Reporter
Published:
2 Photos
Mariah Bilby and her mother-in-law Diana Bilby donate school supplies at Stuff the Bus event at the Fisher's Landing Burgerville on Thursday.
Mariah Bilby and her mother-in-law Diana Bilby donate school supplies at Stuff the Bus event at the Fisher's Landing Burgerville on Thursday. The annual event, organized by the Evergreen School District Foundation, collects school supplies for low-income students attending Evergreen Public Schools. Photo Gallery

Evergreen Public Schools

o Student enrollment: 26,443.

o District poverty rate: 47.1 percent.

o Students living in poverty: 12,454.

Vancouver Public Schools

o Student enrollment: 23,339.

o District poverty rate: 51.6 percent.

o Students living in poverty: 12,042.

How to help

Evergreen School District Foundation

o Contact: 360-604-4022

o On the Web: www.evergreenschooldistrictfoundation.org

Foundation for

Vancouver Public Schools

o Contact: 360-313-4730

o On the Web: foundationforvps.org

Digging through a plastic bag bulging with school supplies, Zaryn Hunt loaded her arms with colorful markers, walked down the school bus aisle and dropped them into a box of markers on a bus seat. Next, she gathered notebooks.

The 12-year-old student from Cascade Middle School was one of several volunteers collecting and organizing donated school supplies in a school bus parked at the Fisher’s Landing Burgerville for Thursday’s Stuff the Bus event organized by the Evergreen School District Foundation.

Meanwhile, across town at the Salmon Creek Burgerville, the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools carried out its Stuff the Bus event. For the first time, the foundations of Clark County’s two largest school districts worked together for a monthlong, citywide school supply drive that culminated in Thursday’s activities.

“The numbers tell us how wealth has moved out of this region,” said Rob Perkins, an Evergreen school board member who stood next to the bus. “It’s not easy for many families in our district to afford school supplies.”

Growing need

The need continues to grow, said Ginny Gronwoldt, Evergreen foundation president. In 2013, the foundation distributed 230 backpacks filled with school supplies collected at Stuff the Bus events. Last year, they doubled that number and provided 470 backpacks with supplies.

Evergreen Public Schools

o Student enrollment: 26,443.

o District poverty rate: 47.1 percent.

o Students living in poverty: 12,454.

Vancouver Public Schools

o Student enrollment: 23,339.

o District poverty rate: 51.6 percent.

o Students living in poverty: 12,042.

How to help

Evergreen School District Foundation

o Contact: 360-604-4022

o On the Web: www.evergreenschooldistrictfoundation.org

Foundation for

Vancouver Public Schools

o Contact: 360-313-4730

o On the Web: foundationforvps.org

Despite economists proclaiming the Great Recession is over, many more Clark County families are struggling financially than they were even a few years ago. Since the pre-Recession 2006-2007 school year, the number of Evergreen Public Schools students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch has increased from about a third of the students to 47.1 percent.

For struggling families, buying an extensive list of required school supplies can mean cutting the food budget or some other necessity. The average family spends $97 on school supplies and backpacks to send their children back to school, according to the National Retail Federation. That money can buy a lot of food.

“People often don’t understand the great need, said Rebecca Bafus, the Evergreen foundation’s administrative assistant. She added that last year the school district had 700 homeless students.

For homeless families, purchasing school supplies is a low priority, she said.

This year, the foundation made some changes to the event. First, although the foundation is collecting backpacks, they are not stuffing backpacks with school supplies.

Second, in the past, parents contacted the foundation to request backpacks and school supplies. This year, both the Evergreen and Vancouver foundations are delivering the school supplies directly to schools, where supplies will be distributed to students.

Parents of Vancouver or Evergreen district students who need school supplies should contact their child’s school directly.

Bafus said people can donate school supplies after school starts, too.

“Throughout the school year, we have many families who request school supplies,” she said. “Kids run out of notebook paper or mechanical pencils. Donate any time.”

Columbian Education Reporter
Loading...