Salvation Army and Walmart want you to ‘Stuff the Bus’ to help children in need this fall

Backpack prepared with study supplies and mask for the return to school. Covid-19 concept.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Maria_Castellanos)

Whether it’s online or in the classroom, a local school supply drive is hoping to help out as kids start classes again this fall.

This weekend, empty boxes at eight Walmart locations in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. are waiting to be filled with supplies for those in need in time for the new school year.

“A lot of them were already struggling prior to COVID,” said Ken Forsythe, Marketing and communications manager for the Salvation Army National Capital Area Command.

He said they are partnering with Walmart through Sunday in a program called “Stuff the Bus” to help parents struggling to afford school supplies.

“Some of them are still not back to work and our hope is that by collaborating with Walmart on this program that we can help to offset any undue burden that the parents may have,” Forsythe said.

Those wishing to donate can either purchase items in the store and put them in the boxes out front or bring new and like new supplies with them.

The Walmart locations include:
  • 6000 Burke Commons Road in Burke, Virginia
  • 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center Drive in Chantilly, Virginia
  • 13059 Fair Lakes Parkway in Fairfax, Virginia
  • 11181 Lee Highway in Fairfax, Virginia
  • 310 Riggs Road NE in D.C.
  • 5929 Georgia Avenue NW in D.C.
  • 20910 Frederick Road in Germantown, Maryland
  • 6210 Annapolis Road in Landover Hills, Maryland

“Whether their kids are actually going to be in the classroom or learning virtually, we want to make sure that they have the pens and pencils and papers and the backpacks that they need to be effective in learning,” Forsythe said.

He said that he’s seen an increase in locals asking for assistance with their other services so he’s hopeful that the school supplies help to lighten the load.

For those unable to make it to the store this weekend, there is a searchable registry where shoppers can purchase and donate online.

“We know that a lot of families are still struggling because we’ve seen an uptick in the number of people coming through our doors looking for things to eat, looking for food to eat,” he said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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