Copperas Cove Cove community shows up in a big way to Stuff the Bus
By PAMELA GRANT
Thousands of dollars’ worth of school supplies were raised over the weekend to help CCISD’s students in need for the new school year.
Copperas Cove’s Walmart and Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans held their annual “Stuff the Bus” event during tax-free weekend with the event kicking off Friday morning at 10 a.m. and running through Sunday at 5 p.m.
“We are here to help wherever we are needed,” said John Robertson, Vice President of Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans.
Robertson said that they play music, run the concession stand, and do whatever is needed to help make Stuff the Bus as successful as possible. He said that Star Group has a lot of generous sponsors that help support them and their causes.
“As veterans, our role is to assist other veterans,” said Robertson. “This is to support not only veterans, but the community. There are a lot of children that are helped by Stuff the Bus.”
“Stuff the Bus is a great event. We love our community partners that always help us,” said CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns. “Our community is so generous and always very giving…This is always a hugely successful event.”
Burns said that all school supplies collected during the event will be discretely distributed to CCISD’s students that need the extra help. Dr. Burns added that about 70% of their student body qualifies for free or reduced lunches and, although the number of students in need varies from year to year, it gives them an idea of how many families might need the extra support.
“Typically, families don’t need everything, but they may need something,” said Dr. Burns.
Dr. Burns added that some of the students may not need supplies at the start of the year thanks to the many generous groups that do backpack and supply giveaways, but there may be a need that crops up later in the year, and the Stuff the Bus event will be able to support those kids as well.
“I just think it’s a really great event and it helps out so many people,” said Emily Kimball (15), CCHS student and member of DECA, about Stuff the Bus. “This event is one of the community’s biggest, most important events. It’s important for us to have as much help as we can get and it’s really beneficial to a lot of students.”
Kimball has volunteered at the Stuff the Bus event for the past six years. She said that, as a volunteer, she helps with collection, organization, and even purchasing some supplies.
Denise Hendry, front end coach for Walmart, said that Walmart does their best to partner with and support the Stuff the Bus event each year. Hendry said that Walmart donates the flyers for the event, spreads the word and allows the use of their facilities, and donates food and beverages for the event.
“It’s very important to us to support our community,” said Hendry. “We support them. All day long we keep resupplying them.”
Masonic Lodge representatives of Mount Sinai Chapter #42 and Jno G. Lewis #622 donated a check for $500 and several physical donations at Friday’s Stuff the Bus event.
“We love taking care of our community and we know there’s a need and we try to supply for that need,” said Mitchell Johnson, Senior Warden for Jno G. Lewis Lodge #622. Their groups donate for Stuff the Bus and help out CCISD every year. “I really think that when there’s a need, someone needs to step forward and fill that gap. We talk to the schools constantly, and we know where those shortages are…So wherever we can get in and fill that gap, that’s what we do.”