Through the month of July, local businesses, organizations, and community members will come together to help students of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish schools. By donating school supplies and hosting supply drives, they will “pack the bus” with the necessary items children will need to prosper this upcoming school year.
Established three years ago by Synergy Bank and United Way for South Louisiana (UWSLA), the organizations saw the need for this program after learning many teachers in the area use their own money to purchase school supplies for their students.
“We recognize that there’s sometimes a gap… Some of the students may have the ability, but maybe their parents can’t afford it,” says Elmy Savoie, Marketing Administrator at Synergy Bank. “This way creates almost like a school supply closet at every one of the schools, so that the teachers can go to that closet and get the supplies that they need for those students.”
Running from July 5 to July 27, various locations will help raise supplies and become drop-off sites: all Synergy Bank locations, Nicholls State University, Terrebonne General Medical Center, Lafourche Parish Library, Bayou Country Children’s Museum, etc. With collection bins provided by Pelican Waste & Debris, the supplies will be separated and given to each school in the parish it was donated in.
“Every year, we collect thousands of supplies. We convene at the United Way and sort everything. We have thousands of notebooks, pencils, pens–everything you can imagine,” Elmy says. “We then separate them out based on whatever the supply is, so all of the notebooks go together, all the pencils–everything like that. Then we take them over to the school board and they actually create the bins for the different schools.”
On July 27, the “Pack the Bus” tour commences. An actual school bus goes to all the participating businesses and organizations to retrieve the supplies.
“We post [pictures of participants] on social media to recognize that company for their donation. So it’s a fun event, and we just love to be able to get as many of our businesses involved to be able to help us pack the bus,” Elmy says.
Although this is just its third year and already has seen great success, Synergy Bank and UWSLA still hope make this charitable event even bigger.
“We’re looking for more, of course. We want to grow the campaign. We want to help as many children as we possibly can to give them the school supply closet, in essence,” Elmy says. “It really provides the counselors and the teachers the ability to help those students so that they have tools they need to succeed.”
More information on the campaign, such as how to become a host site, donate, contact information, drop-off locations etc., can be found on their official Facebook page, facebook.com/BayouPackTheBus/. •