For many kids, heading back to school after summer break means new clothes, a new backpack and new school supplies. But for some kids, there is not enough money in the family budget for some or any of these things. A Kroger-sponsored campaign, Stuff the Bus, took aim at knocking out some of the unmet need for new school supplies and recently provided more than $40,000 in school supplies to Humble ISD. The distribution of the school supplies to kids in need was kicked off a few weeks ago at North Belt Elementary, where 85 percent of the student population is economically disadvantaged. Students received notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, glue, markers, rulers, lunch kits, snacks and other supplies. “I would like everyone to know how grateful we are to the community for providing our students with school supplies. I don’t think they have any idea how much it means to our kids. Our teachers are so grateful because it means the kids have the things they need to be successful. Families have stopped me and thanked me for all we have provided our students this year through the Stuff the Bus program. With money being tight for many families right now, an easing of the burden of the expense of school supplies has really meant a lot to our families,” said Macaire McDonough-Davies, principal at North Belt Elementary. Stuff the Bus is an initiative sponsored by Kroger, with help from KPRC Local 2, Coca-Cola and Cox Media Group. Much of the funding for Stuff the Bus was derived from Kroger shopper’s contributions to the cause through the purchase of pre-packaged supply kits for $7, and also from shopper and employee contributions of cash toward the campaign, which was used to purchase additional school supplies. The Stuff the Bus campaign raised more than $200,000 this year, a significant increase from last year. “The addition of the acceptance of small cash donations this year helped us grow the initiative 400 percent from last year,” said Kristal Howard, a public relations manager for Kroger. Howard noted the $200,000 in school supplies was allocated among five area school districts: Spring, ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Pasadena ISD and KIPP.  “We are really excited to see this program grow for 2013. We know with continued support from the community that we can make this bigger and better next year,” said Howard. Photo: North Belt Elementary School Principal Macaire McDonough-Davies hands out school supplies packets to students during Kroger’s Sixth Annual Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive. Kroger employees stopped by North Belt Elementary and other schools in Humble ISD to distribute more than $32,000 worth of supplies needed to have a successful year. Humble ISD was one of five school districts selected to receive the donations.

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