Do your kids need school supplies this fall?
Drop by one of four locations in Addison County next week to pick up backpacks filled with supplies for the school year — for free.
Each year United Way of Addison County stuffs some 400 backpacks with pens, pencils, notebooks, binders and other supplies and distributes them to families in need. They call it Stuff the Bus.
This year the backpacks also include some pandemic necessities: hand sanitizer donated by Vermont Soap, and child-size masks sewed by volunteers at the Hannaford Career Center Makery. The bags also include Bee’s Wrap for packing up lunches and snacks.
This is a zero-barrier program. In other words, you don’t have to qualify for free or reduced lunches or any other assistance program in order to get a backpack. You just show up, pick out a backpack and take it home. All the bags look different, too, so that kids won’t be stigmatized for having “the free backpack.”
According to Linnea Oosterman at United Way, the backpacks will be available by next Wednesday, August 12, at the following locations:
Bristol Community Food Shelf (St. Ambrose Catholic Church)
11 School Street, Bristol
CVOEO (Addison Community Action)
54 Creek Road (Ste. A), Middlebury
HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects)
282 Boardman Street, Middlebury
Vergennes Community Food Shelf (Congregational Church of Vergennes)
30 South Water Street, Vergennes
If you can’t make it to one of those places, email Linnea and she can help. Bags will be available through the beginning of the school year.
Here’s some of what you’ll find inside the backpacks.
Want to contribute to this effort? Donations help cover the cost of the supplies.
Or, you could help make the child-size masks at the Makery during socially distanced Sewing Labs on Aug. 6 and Aug. 13. The Makery will provide the sewing machines, materials and patterns. Register here for workshop 1, Aug. 6; and here for workshop 2, on Aug. 13.
The Makery is also accepting fabric donations.