(Shreveport, LA) – United Way of Northwest Louisiana (UWNWLA) collected more than 30 large boxes and more than 50 backpacks full of school supplies for Caddo and Bossier Parish students and teachers. This year, United Way made their annual Fill the Bus event virtual and encouraged organizations and companies to host a workplace school supply drive.

The supplies collected will benefit thousands of elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Northwest Louisiana who are identified as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and/or families struggling to make ends meet throughout Northwest Louisiana. According to the most recent ALICE Report, the percentage of ALICE and households in poverty in Northwest Louisiana has increased to 55%, making these supplies more vital than ever.

Because of the pandemic, the number of donations to school supply drives drastically reduced this year. “Every single school supply item will greatly impact a student’s life. When students arrive in class without the supplies they need, there is a wave of relief when their teacher is able to provide them with a notebook, pen, and other crucial supplies,” says Harper McKnight, community engagement and creative coordinator. “Volunteer school supply drive sites answered United Way’s call for help on behalf of students in our area.”

The Young Professionals Initiative won UWNWLA’s impromptu spirit award through their pumped-up promotion of their drive site on social media, and by surpassing their goal of collecting 100 items. Through buying in bulk and coming together as a team, YPI was able to collect 870 items for local students.

The site that collected the most supplies was Bossier Parish Libraries. The libraries started strong by contributing several boxes of extra school supplies from last year and continued the momentum by collecting supplies at all their library locations throughout September.

United Way is proud to partner with Shreveport Memorial and Bossier Parish Libraries, local businesses, and school systems in both parishes to benefit hundreds of students and their families trying to start off the 2020-2021 school year off strong.

To view the full list of school supply drives that participated in this year’s United Way Fill the Bus initiative, visit unitedwaynwla.org/fillthebuslocations/.