It doesn’t take much to put a smile on a child’s face.
This weekend, Stuff the Bus campaign asks the community to help kids start the school year off on the right foot with the tools they need for their education.
From pencils to notebooks and erasers to backpacks, people dropped off donations at the Santa Maria Walmart, one of several locations in the county providing opportunities for people to give.
As donations came in Friday afternoon, 16-year-old Aidan Stamford spent his day gathering and organizing supplies.
"I just want to do good in the community and help out kids who are just not as a fortunate as me and don’t have school supplies for this upcoming school year," Stamford said.
The goal is to fill 175 boxes of school supplies that stays in the local community — a need in the area school systems.
"There are a lot of children in our community, Santa Maria, Orcutt, Guadalupe, that are below the poverty level," said site coordinator Maggie White. "Our communities have a high percentage of students whose families qualify for free and reduce priced meals. And so programs like Stuff the Bus really make sure the children who have need in our community get the supplies they need, those educational tools that they’ll use not only in the classroom, but at home on the weekends and probably share with brothers and sisters."
Of the donations, backpacks are still the most needed. so students can actually take their supplies to school.
All ages donated supplies that will go to students even in junior high. Madison, who is 7, found the perfect items on her trip into the store with her mother.
"I brought two notebooks and a cute backpack," she smiled.
Even the smallest of donations have a big impact.
"I think it’s important for all kids to have what they need whether their parents can afford it or not," said Alison, a mother of two. "I’m not the most well of myself so it’s a good example to set for my children as someone down the line might donate for them."
You can volunteer time as well, collecting and sorting donations.
San Luis Obispo County
August 9 and 10 from 4 to 7 p.m.
August 11 and 12 from 1 to 4 p.m.
August 13 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
- Walmart, 180 Niblick Road, Paso Robles
- Walmart, 1168 W. Branch Street, Arroyo Grande
- Kmart, 3980 El Camino Real, Atascadero
- Staples, 2950 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo
- Cookie Crock Mart, 1240 Knollwood Drive, Cambria
Santa Barbara County
August 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
August 12 from noon to 6 p.m.
- Walmart, 2220 S. Bradley Road, Santa Maria
- Walmart, 701 W. Central Avenue, Lompoc