MEDINA — About 1,200 students will benefit this year from United Way of Medina County's "Stuff the Bus" campaign, and this year's collection might be the organization's biggest yet, Executive Director Cheryl Parzych said.
The July campaign encouraged community members to donate school supplies to help Medina County students in need be prepared for their first day of school.
Preliminary estimates show 21,000 items donated as of Thursday, said campaign leader Bobbie Gardner. Gardner noted the organization expects more supplies.
The campaign collected more than 13,000 items last year.
At one point, Parzych said United Way’s conference room was filled with supplies.
“We had more collection sites, more businesses put boxes out to collect supplies, and we had more schools participate,” Parzych said.
There were 34 collection sites across the county, including branches of Huntington Bank and the Medina County District Library, Westfield Insurance and Catholic Charities.
Parzych said one of United Way’s new partnerships included A Touch Of Class limousine service. The Liverpool Township business provided a party bus that volunteers from United Way filled with school supplies during the Peach Festival at Mapleside Farms last weekend.
“People really came out for it,” she said.
The organization also received cash donations from Kiwanis Club of Medina, A. Raymond Tinnerman, and A New Day Lodi LLC., Gardner said. The dollar amount was not available Thursday.
Volunteers and representatives then went to Walmart in Medina Township to purchase supplies.
“Our goal is to give every child in need the tools to succeed in school,” Gardner said.
This year, the organization welcomed the Medina County Juvenile Detention Center as a new distribution site to provide residents with supplies for classroom activities.
“We’re trying to reach everyone,” she said.
Parzych said schools provide the agency with information about how many children are in need and what supplies they are looking for.
“You don’t want to be the only student that doesn’t have everything they’re supposed to have,” Parzych said. “It’s really heartfelt.”
Supplies will be distributed to students and families within the next week prior to the start of school by the following:
- Highland Schools, Granger Township;
- Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Brunswick;
- Zion Lutheran Church, Liverpool Township (Buckeye Schools);
- the Salvation Army units in Medina and Wadsworth;
- Cloverleaf PTO.
Parzych said some of the distribution sites that are affiliated with United Way’s Employing Medina County program will assist families with members who are unemployed and looking for work, or those wanting a higher-level paying job.
“It’s a nice connection for them,” she said.
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.