LUMBERTON — BreAnna Branch knows how important Stuff the Bus can be for poverty-stricken schoolchildren across Robeson County.
“I have seen first-hand the effect this school-supplies drive has on a child’s life,” said Branch, the site coordinator for Communities in Schools of Robeson County at Townsend Middle School. “If a student does not have the necessary materials to take notes, do homework, or participate in activities, it is impossible to expect that child to reach their full potential. Stuff the Bus helps remove this barrier so students are able to come to class prepared and ready to learn.”
On Monday, Communities in Schools of Robeson County will launch its 11th annual campaign to provide low-income families with pencils, notebooks and other classroom essentials. The nonprofit has partnered with The Robesonian this year in an effort to collect between $4,000 and $6,000 worth of supplies for about 1,500 students at 15 elementary and middle schools.
“The Stuff The Bus program serves as a resource for families of low income, and teachers,” said Dencie Lambdin, executive director of Communities in Schools of Robeson County. “It is a community resource for teachers to save money out of pocket, and to prepare students for classes. Our goal is to support the teachers and the academic outcome for the students.”
Communities in Schools of Robeson County was founded in 1992 through a partnership with the Public Schools of Robeson County. The organization supports more than 5,000 students across the school district.
In addition to its Stuff the Bus campaign, Communities in Schools of Robeson County provides tutoring, mentoring, counseling and health services to students. Its BakPak Pals program sends 400 students home with bags of food each weekend, and its Communities in Schools Academy maintains a low student-to-teacher ratio to offer a more personalized learning experience.
The organization is one of 26 Communities in Schools affiliates based in North Carolina. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Communities in Schools works to prevent students from dropping out of school.
Suggested donations for Stuff the Bus include pencils, folders, pens, notebooks, paper, glue, scissors and crayons. Donations can be dropped off at The Robesonian’s office at 2175 N. Roberts Ave. in Lumberton from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Monday until Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
After they drop off supplies, visitors can take part in a series of daily raffles for a chance to win prizes.
People who don’t have time to shop or visit the newspaper can donate money. Checks can be mailed to Communities in Schools of Robeson County, P.O. Box 706, Lumberton, N.C., 28359.
For information, visit robeson.communitiesinschools.org.
Jack Frederick is an intern at The Robesonian.