WEST JEFFERSON-In about a month’s time, those familiar yellow school buses will once again grace the High Country roads and with them, the bright faces of area youngsters returning to their respective school houses for another productive year.
And although the thought of returning to the classroom is likely the furthest thing from the minds of local students, Yadkin Bank, of West Jefferson, has once again taken the lead in ensuring those students have the tools they need to excel in the classroom.
The bank’s annual “Stuff the Bus” campaign is off to a rolling start.
You can find the buses at 1488 Mt. Jefferson Road and 709 East Main St. in Jefferson.
The purpose of the drive is to take in donations in the form of school supplies. The donations will need to be brought into the branches instead of being placed on the bus.
According to bank officials, this can be done during normal branch hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays. Donations will be accepted through Aug. 15.
“We love to be able to give back to the community by helping to give the children a good start to the school year,” said Commercial Relationship Specialist Beth Hall. “We like to think that the children have the appropriate supplies when beginning the new year. People in our community also look forward to helping with this supply drive. We have received several calls checking to see if we were holding the drive this year.”
As many parents might tell you, this year’s drive is more important than ever.
Recently released information from local outreaches paints a dire picture for local children. Around 63 percent of children in the Ashe County School System receive free or reduced meals, according to Michael Sexton, director of the Ashe County Sharing Center. Three out of ten children are also considered food insecure, which means they don’t know where their next meal is coming, said Sexton in a previous interview.
According to the findings presented by the N.C. Justice Center, nearly 21 percent of the county’s residents lived in poverty and struggled to make ends meet in 2014. The state’s poverty rate, however, was only 17.2 percent.
Additionally, Lansing, Crumpler and Creston were identified as “pockets of poverty,” by Feed America which made the designation by utilizing U.S. Census data.
But there is hope for families struggling to get by. There is a plethora of community activities, churches and outreaches looking to help out. The Yadkin Stuff the Bus Drive is just one of those.
Hall added that she and the rest of the bank’s staff hope this year’s drive will be the best yet.
“The guidance counselors that we work with are always so appreciative of the supplies and we are great to work with,” she said. “The supplies will be given out by each of the five school guidance counselors. We would like to thank everyone who works together to make this a success each year.”
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