School will be starting soon and the Cumberland County School System wants to make sure that students are prepared by having the “Help Stuff the Bus” initiative on Tax Free Friday, Aug. 6 from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. at all Wal-Mart locations.

The collection sites are on Raeford Road, Skibo Road, Ramsey Street, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Cumberland County School employees will be at each Wal- Mart location collecting donations of school supplies from sun up to sun down.

“This is the third year we have had this school-supply drive,” said Pamela Story, Cumberland County Schools’ social work coordinator. “We are partnering with Operation Home Front and will distribute the donations to the homeless and less fortunate students in the Cumberland County and Fort Bragg School Systems.

Story added that last school year more than 400 backpacks were given to Cumberland County School students and this year’s goal is to stuff 600 backpacks. More than 600 homeless students have been identifi ed in Cumberland County Schools for the 2010-2011 school year.

The items most needed include backpacks, three-ring binders, pocket folders, loose leaf paper, mechanical and colored pencils, school uniforms, hand sanitizer, marble composition books, and other items.

“The donations we collect reduces the amount we must spend from our McKinney Vento Homeless Education Grant that assists students in homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and transitional housing,” said Story.

“The items will be distributed after August 18,” she noted, adding that families in need of school supplies should contact the school social worker at their child’s school.

“We are proud to add the Spring Lake Wal-Mart as a collection site this year,” said Story. “We are overwhelmed by the number of volunteers who have agreed to help out such as athletes, school clubs, sororities, the police department, school social workers, banks, concerned citizens, and we hope to see everyone at one of the area Wal-Mart locations.”

Donations are also being accepted at the CCS Social Work offi ce located at 2465 Gillespie St. between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information call 678-2419 or 678-7014.

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