It mirrored a chaotic assembly line Friday morning when more than 100 volunteers amassed for the annual United Way of Rutherford and Cannon counties Stuff the Bus project at Embassy Suites.
The volunteers frantically stuffed paper, pencils and numerous school supplies into bags and immediately handed them off to other volunteers who continued to stuff more goodies to help out Murfreesboro City and Rutherford County schools.
When their work was done, approximately 1,500 back packs were filled to help make going back to school a lot easier for students throughout the county.
The Stuff the Bus event is one of United Way’s most important projects in the summer. It began with volunteers donations supplies at the end of June.
“This is our third annual Stuff the Bus. We have grown it every single year,” said Kristen Swann, Director of Communications and Events for United Way of Rutherford and Cannon counties. “This is something that is done all over the country. It’s so important because we really feel like education is a foundation for a lot of different issues facing our community.
“It’s really important for kids to have supplies they need before they go back to school to feel confident that they’re ready to start the year.”
Adam W. Keller of Verizon Wireless was one of the 100-plus volunteers who chose to donate their time on Friday.
“I’m with the Step Up Program with Verizon Wireless,” he said. “It’s a program we have for future leaders to get involved with situations like this to encourage and grow. This is one of many programs that we have over a period of six months that allow us to help out and improve the environment, or in this case, education.”
Terry Cunningham has long been a volunteer for United Way, and Stuff the Bus is one of several projects she is involved with during the year.
“I have been involved with the United Way for the last 14 years as the United Way coordinator for Rutherford County Government,” Cunningham said. “So this event we have been putting on for the past several years, and I think as school kids who don’t have all the opportunities that other kids do, I think this is an awesome opportunity for them to be able to get brand new supplies that they may not have had in the past.
“The volunteers are very important for the United Way,” she continued. “It’s not only about giving, but it’s about volunteering and advocating for United Way. So, it’s amazing to see how many volunteers we have out here today. It makes it easier to do. Everybody is in a great mood and everybody is glad to be here, and they’re glad to see the success at the end.”