'Stuff the Bus' campaign ready to roll

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School supplies for children

The largest school supply drive in Marion County celebrates its 15-year anniversary by giving to students in need this summer.  
“Stuff the Bus” started in 2002 as a summer drive to gather school supplies for Marion County’s homeless students.  Today, the program helps approximately 2,500 needy students throughout Marion County Public Schools.
The annual program is co-sponsored by Marion County Public Schools and local military organizations.  
“Stuff the Bus” affords local residents the opportunity to make a real difference in a homeless child’s life by donating new school supplies, children’s clothing, shoes, personal hygiene items and financial contributions.  To date, the campaign has collected approximately $475,000 in donations and merchandise – all distributed through the school district’s Homeless Student program and school counselors.
A decorated school bus with ample room to “stuff” donations inside appears at local retail stores from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. based on the following schedule:  
July 9, Saturday – Walmart Easy Street, 2600 SW 19th Ave. Road.
July 16, Saturday – Walmart State Road 200, 9570 SW Hwy. 200.
July 23, Saturday – Zumba for Stuff the Bus, Ward-Highlands Elementary, 537 SE 36th Ave., Ocala, 10 a.m. to noon, $10 per person.
July 30, Saturday – Walmart Silver Springs Shores, 34 Bahia Ave.
Details for collection events at the Paddock Mall and local government offices are being finalized and will be announced soon.
Meantime, checks benefitting “Stuff the Bus” can be indicated as such and made payable to Stuff the Bus, c/o Homeless Student Program, Marion County Public Schools, 1517 SE 30th Ave. - #5, Ocala, FL, 34471.
For more information, contact the school district’s Homeless Children Program at 352-671-6847 or via email at Suzanne.McGuire@marion.k12.fl.us.