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School district, others collecting supplies for youth

By Staff | Aug 19, 2009

The Lee County School District, local businesses and other organizations are setting up last-minute school supplies drives before school starts next week.
For the second year in a row, the Lee County School District and WINK will host “Stuff the Bus” Thursday, where people from the community pile school supplies into a school bus parked in front of Staples at Gulf Coast Town Center.
“It was successful last year,” said Joe Donzelli, district spokesperson. “It will be parked in front of Staples at Gulf Coast Town Center, and WINK will be broadcasting all day.”
Shoppers at Staples can stuff supplies, such as pencils, pens, notebooks, paper, crayons and colored markers, into the bus from 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Donzelli said officials in the district’s Title I department will sift through the donated supplies and organize them to be given to students. Any students who have identified a need through Student Services can get the supplies from the district.
“Those schools who have identified a need will come down to the area with all of the items for them to be able to pick up supplies for students once the school year starts,” he said.
Local businesses are also working with the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools to collect supplies for teachers and students.
Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, Fifth Third Bank, State Farm Insurance and AT&T are holding companywide supplies drives and are asking customers to contribute as well. Donations can be made by contacting the foundation or stopping by one of the participating businesses.
Donations are accepted by AT&T and State Farm Insurance until Sunday, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union until Aug. 28 and Fifth Third Bank until Sept. 4.
“Our local businesses are demonstrating their understanding and concern for the needs of the growing number of students who need help this year in obtaining the basic supplies for a quality education,” said Marshall Bower, executive director of the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, in a prepared statement.
With a new school year starting Monday, officials from the school district want to remind commuters that 600 buses will be on the roads and drivers should be watchful of children getting on and off the buses.
“Commuters need to take a couple of minutes and be more vigilant,” said Donzelli. “We don’t want a tragic situation to occur.”