Bright Future divisions from across the area are combining efforts to help children in need before class begins.
"Oh it's a wonderful feeling. It's always best to be able to reach out to our community and help those who are in need,” says Rick Flinn, a pastor at Saint Paul's United Methodist Church.
Members of Saint Paul's United Methodist Church are just several of the many volunteers that will help Bright Futures collect school supplies for the upcoming Stuff the Bus campaign.
"Stuff the Bus is a really powerful thing where our community can pull together. Doing something really small like buying some extra school supplies or an extra box of crayons, you name it; if it's on the list, we're looking for it,” says Jeni Driskill, Bright Futures Carl Junction Coordinator.
Seneca, Carthage, Neosho, Joplin, and Carl Junction Bright Futures programs are teaming up to make sure students across their districts are fully equipped this fall.
"If our kids are lacking something or our program has an empty spot on the shelf, I can call any one of those coordinators in the area and say "our kids need this." And if they've got it, they're gonna share it, and we do the same,” says Jeni Driskill.
This has a big impact on kids in the area. Between the five districts, more than 12,000 students were on free or reduced lunch programs last year according to the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.
"They might be struggling thinking "School's right around the corner. How are we going to be able to pay for all of these school supplies?", especially families with multiple kids and this is a way for everyone to step up and for those people to receive the help that I need,” says Driskill.
Bright Futures will hold several stuff the bus events over the next few weeks where people can donate school supplies.
-Carthage Walmart – July 27, 9am – 4pm and July 28, 9am – 1pm
-7th Street Walmart – July 27, 9am – 1pm
-15th Street Walmart – July 27, 9am – 1pm
-Neosho Walmart – August 3 & 4, 10am – 6pm
-Goodman Dollar General – August 3 & 4, 10am – 6pm
-Stone’s Corner Neighborhood Market – July 27, 9am – 3pm