‘Stuff the Bus’ a success

The House of Compassion “Stuff the Bus” school supply distribution was held Aug. 18 and 20 and was a huge success thanks to the community. After the postponement, we weren’t sure all those HoC clients and people affected by the tornado would get the word, but thanks to social media and other media sources, all worked out well. Backpacks filled with basic school supplies were given to 1,043 students in preschool through high school. We found out that “being affected by the tornado” had far reaching effects. Some lost their homes, but a few didn’t even live in Marshalltown and had lost jobs because of the tornado. We had enough supplies for everyone and backpacks for nearly everyone.

Whether you set out a box at church, or donated money or supplies to the bus, we really appreciate all that you do. We couldn’t do this project without your help. Out of town donations filled in the gaps, so everyone will be starting school with what they need. Much of the money collected was used to buy more backpacks or will be used to order headphones (an item on the school supply list we were unable to have at the time of distribution).

Families who received the supplies were very grateful for the help. One woman said, “Thank you for helping us through our struggle. I appreciate it so much.” Another lady wrote, “Thank you for helping me and for donating school supplies. Thanks to you, my kiddos will be ready and proud.” The hundreds of thank you notes from children and their parents always makes working on this project worthwhile. Getting students started in school each year can be incredibly expensive, and nothing seems to be getting cheaper. Having a tornado damage or destroy part of your town creates even greater needs for many folks.

We cannot emphasize how wonderful the volunteers were this year. When St. Paul had roof damage and had to replace it, dust “rained down” inside on all the supplies. After having the dust analyzed the clean up had to occur before distribution. The staff and parishioners at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church worked tirelessly to clean everything so we could continue with our project. A huge thank you for all the work they did and for allowing us to take over part of their church each summer. Working with the school district was wonderful. The people who drive the buses helped us on their own time. The school administration office collected so much, and it all went to fill backpacks for students to help them have a good year. When we would have 15 volunteers sign up to help, 30 would show up to sort and pack supplies. This town is amazing by showing their thoughtfulness when people are in need. This is a great community project with many hands working together to make a positive impact on our youth as they start their new school year. Thank you to everyone who helped and donated!

House of Compassion Supply Closet Team who worked on “Stuff the Bus” included Donna Appel, Lori Diggins, Margaret Good, Carol Rahn, Patty Schutt, Rita Smith, Debby McMullin-Winch and Cherryl Woltjer.