Sign me up for updates. Sign up now

Donate Take Action
United Way Blog

Stuff the Bus: Empowering Students to Succeed

Shine bright! Be you, be great! Volunteers shared these encouraging words for students around the DC, Virginia, and Maryland area at United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) annual Stuff the Bus signature event. On August 2, 2023, individual volunteers and volunteers from partner organizations came together to fill backpacks with school supplies for students who need it most. As they counted notebooks and folders, volunteers also took time to write personal messages of hope and inspiration.

In a world where education is the foundation for future success, many families in the region face the burden of affording necessary school supplies. And as essential as school supplies are to success, the Stuff the Bus signature event is about more than just pencils and pens. It is about a community commitment to uplifting our neighbors who are working but struggling to make ends meet. All of United Way NCA’s programming focuses on reducing the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population, which represents the nearly 500,000 households in the region that are working but unable to afford basic necessities, such as food, healthcare, childcare, transportation expenses and more. By lessening the financial burden of school supplies, United Way NCA is helping to create a more stable and prosperous future for ALICE families.

According to the ALICE in the Crosscurrents: COVID and Financial Hardship report, across the National Capital Area, 48% of students enrolled in K-12 schools are economically disadvantaged, negatively impacting overall attendance and, ultimately, high-school graduation rates. Each year United Way NCA’s Stuff the Bus event provides backpacks filled with essential school supplies to students across the region. This year’s event was made possible by the generosity of volunteers and partner organizations like Deloitte, Emergent Biosolutions, AWS, CareFirst, Chime, Enterprise Holdings, Management Solutions Consulting Group and Navy Federal. This event, combined with several other volunteer packing events, allows United Way NCA to deliver nearly 2,000 backpacks to students across its seven Title I Community Schools.

Stuff the Bus is a shining example of what can be achieved when individuals and organizations come together with a shared purpose. And through its partnerships with various Title I Community Schools across the National Capital Area, United Way NCA has created an engaging and transformative space for students, fostering an environment where every child can flourish. United, we can indeed make a difference, write success stories, and build a future where every child unlocks their full potential. When none are ignored, all will thrive.