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United Way National Capital Area Backpacks and Supplies for Middle Schoolers

Many of us live very stable lives in upscale communities and we often forget with-in our own communities there are people who don’t have all the same gifts we take for granted. For some children the beginning of school doesn’t mean a trip with mom or dad, or with mom or dad’s credit card, to purchase all the needed supplies to start the year off right.

To help even the playing field for some of those students the United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA), has launched a back-to-school collection drive for area students as part of a program called "Stuff the Bus". The program brings together area residents to help assemble backpacks full of school supplies, non-perishable food products and personal care items for area students.

United Way NCA staff and volunteers will be on hand Thursday, September 1st to kick off two weeks of collection drives from 2:00 – 4:00 pm outside of the entrance to the Lord & Taylor, Tysons Corner Center, 7950 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, VA 22102. On September 1st volunteers will be assembling “Stuff the Bus” backpacks and will also be accepting donations from area residents. Folks can continue dropping off donations in the children's department of the Lord & Taylor store in Tysons Corner through September 17th.

Each of the “Stuff the Bus” backpacks contain school supplies such as gift cards to Target, Wegmans and Walmart, as well as pens, pencils, scissors, erasers and other needed supplies to help middle school students succeed. The backpacks will also contain personal care items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and food.

To date United Way NCA's Stuff the Bus program has brought together more than 180 volunteers to assemble more than 1,600 backpacks which have already been distributed by United Way NCA and member nonprofits in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland. For example, 100 backpacks have already been delivered to Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, Virginia.

If folks in the District of Columbia can’t make it to Tysons they can get involved they will have until June 2017 in the year long effort, to find places to drop off donations, make donations online by going to UWNCA, or host a collection drive. They can drop off a donation in person at the UWNCA Offices between 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (Monday through Friday): or mail it to United Way of the National Capital Area (UWNCA) Attention: Torrance Huck, 1101 15th Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005.

Some of the D.C. schools having already received backpacks include the Charles Hart Middle School (located in SE DC), Stuart Hobson Middle School and Johnson Middle School. Among others scheduled to receive them are Kelly Miller Middle School (located in NE DC), John Hayden Johnson Middle School (located in SE DC) and Cardozo Education Campus (located in Columbia Heights).

The program is just one part of United Way NCA’s five-year, $12.3 million Community Commitment targeting 12,000 at-risk middle school students in the National Capital Area to help them perform at grade level and putting them on the right track to succeed in school and life.