With the support of McFarland area residents, local business and civic organizations, 110 children of families served by the McFarland Community Food Pantry will receive a backpack filled with school supplies for the 2020-21 school year.

The supply drive culminated with the Aug. 8 Stuff the Bus collection at Pick ‘n Save and Walgreens.

“Individuals and families were amazingly generous in their donations of backpacks, school supplies and cash,” said Russ St. Clair, 2020 coordinator of the McFarland Stuff the Bus campaign.

McFarland State Bank printed fliers to help promote the campaign.

Spartan Pizza gave 15% of its proceeds from pizza sales ($540) from July 29-30.

Nelson Bus Company loaned a school bus to park near the high school for a week to display the Stuff the Bus banner.

McFarland High School made an entryway available for receiving and sorting donated goods, and the school district office sent out an email message to district parents telling them about the campaign.

The McFarland Fire Department parked a ladder truck by the high school entrance for three hours Aug. 8 and encouraged children to visit it.

Several area businesses (Pick ‘n Save, Walgreens, Zelm Chiropractic, Medicine Shoppe, Forward Pharmacy, McFarland House Café, Spartan Pizza and True Value Hardware) hosted a Stuff the Bus box.

The Dane County Face Mask Makers donated 112 face masks.

Local civic organizations like the Lions, the Lionesses and the American Legion Auxiliary provided volunteers for coordinating the campaign and handling donations over a three-week period.

“This was a remarkable success to pull off, even during a year when we are dealing with a pandemic and when many families have seen financial setbacks,” St. Clair said.

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