United Way Stuff the Bus and Best Foot Forward Complete


The third annual “Stuff the Bus” and second annual “Best Foot Forward” campaigns are complete, and thanks to the community and our partners, it was a rousing success.  Citizens Bank helped United Way start “Stuff the Bus” in 2013 as the lead sponsor of the event and has helped it grow each year.  This year was a huge success, over eighty volunteers from across our community came together to help us collect over 8,500 school supplies ranging from crayons, glue sticks, pens, pencils, notebook paper, markers, facial tissue, spiral notebooks, folders, binders, erasers, backpacks and more.   Last year, the Wood Family Dealerships teamed up with United Way to add “Best Foot Forward” to the event, an initiative geared towards providing athletic shoes to students in need.  This year, with contributions from The Wood Family Dealerships, The John Hermann Hickman Foundation and The Rotary Club of Batesville and the community we were able to purchase 336 pairs of athletic shoes for students in need.  “Our United Way has a small staff of two, so we rely heavily on the community to help us with our work.  Our corporate sponsors and the local media are very important to the success of this program as they provide advertising and coverage of the event that we would not otherwise have.  They really help us get the word out and encourage our community to give back,” Allison Phelps, Executive Director of United Way said.  “Most of the school supplies we receive are collected on the day of the event from the shoppers at Wal-Mart and most of the shoes are purchased in a bulk order at a discounted rate from Wal-Mart.  This year thanks to our corporate sponsors, volunteers and the community “Stuff the Bus” and “Best Foot Forward” was a success and we look forward to expanding our sponsorships next year and being able to provide more supplies and shoes for kids in need.”

The school supplies and athletic shoes were sorted, divided and distributed to the schools in our area, including Batesville, Cave City, Cedar Ridge, Midland and Southside School Districts.  The local school counselors and teachers will identify the students in need and distribute the supplies and shoes to those who need them the most.   “I was so proud and overwhelmed by the number of volunteers that showed up to make this event a success.  I was especially proud of the students who see the need for this campaign and showed up to help.  The school districts really showed up for us, including the Cheerleaders, Prancers, Student Council, Key Club, Beta Club, 4H from across Independence County and Cave City, and many others,” Phelps said of the turnout.  United Way wants to thank all partners, sponsors, more than eighty volunteers of all ages and all the shoppers who generously donated items to ensure children were ready for school.