Berryville’s ‘Stuff the Bus’ campaign in full swing
There may be no actual bus involved, but the Berryville School District is still in the midst of its annual “Stuff the Bus” event.
In the past, the events have allowed county residents to assist with purchasing school supplies for local students. Nowadays, the school district is able to provide students with most of the necessary supplies — paper, pencils, crayons and all the usual items — leaving just a few small gaps, ones that Bright Futures Berryville hopes to fill.
“The school district is providing all of the classroom supplies, the pencils, paper, crayons, all of the supplies students will need at their desks, except for any Trapper keepers, zipper binders or backpacks and then student headphones,” said project coordinator Mindy Hicks, explaining that students in kindergarten through fifth grade use headphones in class. “So for Bright Futures, we are collecting backpacks, Trapper keepers, zipper binders and headphones for those students who are not able to make that purchase.”
In addition, Hicks — who also serves as the Berryville district’s school and community relations coordinator — said Bright Futures is also collecting new tennis shoes for students.
“We collect tennis shoes year-round, new tennis shoes for students,” Hicks said, “We put that on there because that’s one of our biggest needs that we fill is tennis shoes. We do prefer new tennis shoes, just because everyone knows how getting a new pair of tennis shoes makes them feel, and they mold to a child’s feet. We want it to be comfortable for them and be theirs.”
Hicks said this marks the second year the Berryville district has been able to provide regular supplies to its students, a service also provided in both the Green Forest and Eureka Springs school districts.
Those who wish to contribute to the Bright Futures Berryville project may drop off their donations at a number of locations, including both Anstaff Bank branches, Arvest Bank, Berryville Community Center, Berryville Eyecare Clinic, Chester Insurance Group, CS Bank, Derek Bell State Farm, Equity Bank, First National Bank of North Arkansas, Freeman Heights Baptist Church, Grandview Baptist Church, Jo Ann Clark State Farm, Ozark Cafe, Southern Heights Baptist Church and Towering Oaks Church.
“That is all that we have right now,” Hicks said. “There may be some other churches and stuff collecting that didn’t contact me. Those are the ones that have contacted me and said they were actively collecting.”
Hicks said the extended drive, which will continue through the end of the month, gives people a larger window in which to contribute instead of the more typical single-day or weekend event held in many school districts.
“This gives people a little more time to plan,” Hicks said, “and maybe they collect all year long for this event and then they can donate it through their church and they don’t have to be somewhere at a specific time.
“Stuff the Bus,” Hicks said, is just one of several annual projects for Bright Futures Berryville.
“Basically, Bright Futures is just an umbrella for the already good programs that we have in our community,” Hicks said. “It kind of unifies everything, and it helps with duplication. That way people aren’t putting forth their effort into the same causes. With Bright Futures, we really pull our community into helping our students in the classroom. We want every student that comes in the classroom to feel equal when they come in. They have the same supplies. They have clothing. Their immediate needs at school are always taken care of and if they have a need, they can come to a teacher.
“Bright Futures helps fill those basic needs with community support.”
In addition to collecting supplies for students, Bright Futures will also be staffing booths at the annual Ice Cream Social on July 30-31, where they hope to provide needed services for students. According to Hicks, Dr. Geoff West will be in the Bright Futures booth on July 30 to provide free dental screenings for local students.
Hicks said she’s happy with the work Bright Futures does and that they always hope to do more.
“It’s a huge benefit to our families and we’re glad that we can do that,” Hicks said.