"Stuff The Bus" Supplying School Supplies To Families In Need During the Pandemic
by Mimi Williams
The new school year is just around the corner and for many families this year will look very different from last year. For Anna Landeros a single mom of five, there are challenges to face even before school begins.
“I work as a secretary but they cut our hours so I am not working that much. For a period of time I had no job at all,” says Landeros. She is one of the thousands of newly unemployed San Diegans as the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on the county.
“It was hard for me to figure out what I was going to do and how I’d provide for my kids. We had to put a lot of stops on things like going out or buying clothes for the kids because I didn’t have enough money. [Financially] it was between whether I pay my rent or I buy food.”
She is grateful for the donations collected during The Salvation Army’s Stuff The Bus drive the first weekend in August. This annual back to school event aims to collect school supplies to help set up children with the tools they’ll need for learning.
“For us it was a blessing because I’m a single mom, so it’s really hard right now.” - Anna Landeros
The Salvation Army supplied Landeros with backpacks filled with paper, colored pencils, pens and pencils, folders, binders, rulers, scissors, glue, erasers and pencil sharpeners. “It was a big blessing. Salvation Army is a blessing” she said.
A Salvation Army bin used to collect donations of school supplies from a Walmart in Chula Vista.
As schools restructure their classrooms and tighten restrictions on social distancing, it is more important than ever for children to have the school supplies necessary for their courses. Landeros told us that schools will prohibit students from sharing their school supplies. Students will not be allowed to pass another student a spare sheet of paper or lend someone a pencil. Students must come prepared with their own items in order to help contain the spread of the virus.
Thankfully, because of the generous donations from the community during this year’s Stuff The Bus, many children like Landeros's will have their own supplies and won’t be hindered by those policies.
The Salvation Army has provided much more than school supplies to families in need throughout the pandemic. Since March, more than 300,000 meals have been distributed to families and individuals in need throughout San Diego.
As the impact of COVID persists throughout the country, The Salvation Army is responding to the needs of the community by adapting its programs to help those most vulnerable. Providing school supplies to children and supplying food to families are just a couple of the ways The Salvation Army continues to live up to its motto of “Doing The Most Good”