LUMBERTON — School buses are usually crammed with students, but the executive director of Communities in Schools is calling on Robeson County residents to follow one Lumberton business owner’s example and fill a bus with paper and pencils.
The ninth annual Stuff the Bus school supply drive started on July 22 and will end on Friday.
Dencie Lambdin, executive director of Communities in Schools, which runs a charter school in Pembroke, said she and her co-workers are “very disappointed” that Stuff the Bus has received a little more than 2,000 school supplies so far; that compares with 7,000 during last year’s campaign. The supplies will be given to students from needy families.
Lambdin said Communities in Schools has “set up boxes for collections at different businesses,” including Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Dollar General stores around Robeson County, as well as in First Baptist Church and Chestnut Street Methodist Church in Lumberton. People can also leave supplies at the Communities in Schools office at 2006 N. Pine St. in Lumberton.
A similar initiative led by the owner of a Lumberton bakery has provided more successful results, with more than 4,000 pounds of school supplies donated.
Lakesah Jones, owner of Divine Desserts, recently held an online competition called the Cupcake Kid Contest, during which parents could vote for the cutest kid from an array of contestants. Jones told parents they could vote every day or online for children in the contest, but as a perk, she said if they donated a school item, voters would receive an extra 300 points or votes toward the child they were voting for.
Jones said she knew people would support the contest by giving, but didn’t anticipate how quickly they would respond.
“They have come in with two to three carloads of items at the time,” Jones said. “They brought us a bus out Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. and we were calling them at 5 p.m. telling them to come back and get the bus because we had no more room to put stuff. It was completely full in eight hours.”
Franchesca Goolsby came out with her family to donate.
“We brought out school supplies, notebooks, folders, pencils, markers, scissors, glue,” Goolsby said. “It was really important to us because Kinley, our niece, was in the contest, but that was not the only reason we did it. We did it out of our heart for the needy children because there are a lot of needy children with nothing to start school with.”
Tasha Oxendine, Public Relations officer for the Public Schools of Robeson County, contributed to this report.