By John Bailey
While the numbers were down, the spirit of giving was still strong from those involved in this year’s Catawba County United Way’s annual Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive.
The Catawba County United Way (CCUW) works every year to ensure every child has the tools they need to succeed, and the highlight of this effort is the annual Stuff the Bus Schools Supply Drive.
The event benefits all three public school districts in Catawba County – Hickory Public Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools and Catawba County Schools.
For 2020, the CCUW’s drive focused on collecting basic classroom supplies including, notebook paper, pens, pencils, glue, spiral notebooks, folders and backpacks. To address needs associated with COVID-19, the drive collected hygiene items like Kleenex, cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer.
The United Way was able to collect 4,402 individual items and raised $1,080 in donations. The items collected will be available through school social workers or other school personnel.
The CCUW had 16 collection partners this year, the number was down from 21 in 2019 because of COVID-19 restrictions at some companies. A funding page was set up on Facebook to encourage monetary giving. The United Way extended the collection time to allow more people to contribute supplies.
Participating community partners included: West Rock, Peoples Bank, St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Catawba County Library, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry, The Salvation Army, APICS Foothills Chapter, Hickory Business Furniture, Klingspor, Hickory Christian Academy, Hickory Springs Manufacturing, Avient Corporation, ZF Chassis, University Christian, Authentic Church in Hickory and Publix in Hickory.
Five volunteers working a total of 11.5 hours helped sort and organize the donated items in two days.
The Catawba County United Way will continue to collect supplies through December. You can drop off items at the CCUW office (2760 Tate Blvd SE in Hickory), Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For more information call 828-327-6851.