United Way of Northwest Louisiana (UWNWLA) has partnered with Bossier Parish Schools and Caddo Parish Public Schools for its annual Fill the Bus school supply campaign. In two weeks, the organization collected over 11,000 school supplies with an impact value of over $15,000 for students and teachers in the school systems. Monetary donations brought in more than $1,900 to school systems. Community partners, Bossier Parish Libraries and Argent Financial Group, helped the initiative by collecting supplies from their premises.

UWNWLA’s Fill the Bus initiative, with the help of volunteer teachers, encourages communities in northwest Louisiana to shop at participating Walmart supermarkets to purchase and donate school supplies to local students. This initiative allows K-12 students in the parishes of Bossier and Caddo to start the upcoming school year with the basic tools necessary for success. Supplies collected for Bossier Parish Schools were distributed among teachers and supplies from Caddo Parish Public Schools went to their schools in the Success Zone.

“Our teachers have come to depend on United Way’s Fill the Bus campaign to help fill the gaps left when families cannot afford school supplies for their children, and we at Bossier Schools, we are very grateful for this support,” Bossier Parish said. Superintendent of Schools Mitch Downey. “Sending students back to school is expensive, even more so this year than in the past. Thus, the outpouring of donations from our generous community meets an even greater need than you might imagine.

Fill the Bus benefits over 4,000 elementary, middle and high school children identified as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and/or families struggling to make ends meet. This initiative aims to ease the pressure on already limited household budgets. According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in K-12 in the United States plan to spend $864 on school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes.

“Our Fill the Bus school supply campaign reduces the financial pressure on ALICE families’ household budgets and prepares students for a successful school year,” said LaToria Thomas, President and CEO of UWNWLA. “We are amazed to see another year of generous support from our community to ensure all children have equal opportunity for a quality education.”

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