The 2019 McFarland Stuff the Bus drive will begin Saturday and run through Aug. 10, culminating in two events, one from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the McFarland High School main entrance, and another from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the McFarland Pick ‘n Save store and the McFarland Walgreens. Volunteers will be at those locations encouraging community members to donate school supplies.

The purpose of the Stuff the Bus campaign is to encourage McFarland area residents to donate required school supplies for use by school-age children of lower-income families in the McFarland School District (families eligible for the McFarland Food Pantry). Backpacks filled with school supplies will be given to eligible children at the food pantry Aug. 12.

During the two-week period leading up to Aug. 10, there will be donation boxes located at Pick ‘n Save, Walgreens, McFarland State Bank, the McFarland Municipal Building, the E.D. Locke Public Library, McFarland Lutheran Church, McFarland United Church of Christ, Culver’s, Forward Pharmacy, Medicine Shoppe, McFarland Café, Ken’s Automotive and the McFarland American Legion.

McFarland area residents are encouraged to donate cash or the following types of items: sturdy backpacks, packs of blue and black pens, wooden pencils, glue sticks, washable markers, Expo dry erase markers, 12-count colored pencils, notebooks, paper, 1-2 inch three-ring binder, tw0-pocket folders, pointed tip scissors, 24-count Crayons, black dry erase markers, Kleenex, plastic pencil boxes, rulers, large erasers and containers of disinfectant wipes.

Community members also have the option of giving cash donations for Stuff the Bus directly to the McFarland Community Pantry (P.O. Box 101, McFarland WI 53558). Checks should be made out to the McFarland Community Food Pantry, and write “Stuff the Bus” on the memo line.

McFarland Lions member Russ St. Clair, who coordinated the campaign in 2018, said more than $10,000 in school supplies and cash was donated last year. McFarland Food Pantry co-director Sue Steinmetz said the goal this year is to meet the needs of 125 school-age children.

St. Clair says that the most significant change in focus this year is to encourage sturdy backpacks.

“You can find backpacks for as low as $3, but they won’t last,” he said. “It’s hard to find sturdy backpacks for under $15-$20. Last year, I found some sturdy backpacks online for under $20. They were on clearance from High Sierra.”

The Stuff the Bus campaign is sponsored by McFarland Lions and Lioness Clubs, McFarland State Bank, McFarland United Church of Christ, McFarland Lutheran Church, McFarland Food Pantry, American Legion Auxiliary, and Thrivent Financial.

The coordinator of the 2019 campaign is St. Clair. Direct questions to him at 838-8739 or russ.stclair0@gmail.com.

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