(Shreveport, LA) – United Way of Northwest Louisiana partnered with Bossier Parish Schools and Caddo Parish Public Schools for its annual Fill the Bus school supply drive. Within two weeks, the organization collected more than 11,000 school supplies with an impact value of more than $15,000 for students and teachers within the school systems. Monetary donations resulted in more than $1,900 for the school systems. Community partners, Bossier Parish Libraries and Argent Financial Group, aided the initiative by collecting supplies at their locations.

UWNWLA’s Fill the Bus initiative, with the help of volunteer teachers, encourages Northwest Louisiana communities to shop at participating Walmart Supercenters to purchase and donate school supplies for local students. This initiative allows K-12 students in Bossier and Caddo parishes to start the upcoming school year with the basic tools needed for success. Supplies collected for Bossier Parish Schools were divided among teachers, and Caddo Parish Public Schools’ supplies went to their schools in the Achievement Zone.

“Our teachers have come to depend on United Way’s Fill the Bus drive to help fill the gaps left when families are unable to afford school supplies for their children, and we, at Bossier Schools, are most grateful for the support,” said Bossier Parish Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey. “Sending students back to school is expensive, even more so this year than in the past. So, the outpouring of donations from our generous community is serving an even greater need than you might imagine.” 

Fill the Bus benefits more than 4,000 elementary, middle, and high school children identified as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and/or families struggling to make ends meet. This initiative seeks to lessen the strain on already strapped household budgets. According to the National Retail Federation, families with K-12 children in the United States plan to spend $864 on school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks, and lunchboxes.

“Our Fill the Bus school supply drive lessens the financial strain on ALICE families’ household budgets and sets students up for a successful school year,” said UWNWLA President & CEO LaToria Thomas. “We are amazed to see another year of generous support from our community to ensure all children have an equal opportunity for quality education.”