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Join the effort:School supplies collected in campaign

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By The Staff

In a few short weeks, those big yellow school buses will travel Marion County roads taking our students back to school. Already, area stores have moved their back-to-school displays to the front and center of their stores. Getting those students the necessary school supplies means a nice cash flow for them.

Unfortunately, not every family has the money to dole out the necessary amount for those supplies. With this strained economy, many families are struggling just to keep food on the table.

Fortunately, for the eighth year, a special program — “Operation: Stuff the Bus” — is collecting school supplies for approximately 1,800 students in need of extra help.

The program is sponsored by the Marion County Public Schools, the Public Education Foundation of Marion County, the Military Officers Association, the Kingdom of the Sun Chapter and other veteran organizations.

In those eight years, the general public, you and I, have contributed nearly $300,000 in donations of merchandise and cash. The items and money collected is distributed by the school district’s Homeless Student program.

Perhaps you have already contributed by dropping some items off at one of the county’s fire stations or libraries. If you haven’t, there is one more opportunity to help.

On Saturday, Aug. 1, in front of the Kmart at 2403 S.W. 27th Ave., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., a decorated school bus will be there for residents to “stuff” the bus.

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, the bus moves to the McPhearson complex so our local government officials can make their donation.

Let’s do our part and bring up a few items. For those who would rather make a monetary donation, checks should be made payable to: “Operation: Stuff the Bus, c/o Homeless Children Program, Marion County Public Schools, 1517 S.E. 30 Ave. No. 5, Ocala, Fl.,  34471.

School is tough enough for our youngsters without having to worrying about not having notebook paper. Do your part!