The 2020 Stuff the Bus school supplies drive, an effort to collect online donations to purchase school supplies for students in San Diego County experiencing homelessness, is being extended through Aug. 31.

The effort, let by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU), has raised more than $70,000 to date with a goal of $125,000. Utah-based philanthropic organization Danna Foundation has agreed to match any donations made through Aug. 31, up to $20,000.

“We can’t thank the community enough for its support and generosity through the first month of this campaign,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is adversely effecting so many people, and we are grateful to those that are able to donate to help this vulnerable population.”

More than 22,000 school-age children in San Diego County have been identified as homeless, and this population has been especially impacted by the school and business closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. SDCOE and SDCCU – along with iHeartMedia – have been collecting thousands of dollars in online donations to purchase much-needed pencils, pens, binders, crayons, backpacks, and more during the campaign. Face coverings will also be included in the backpacks this year, thanks to a donation of 28,000 disposable face masks from local supplier Clinical Supplies.

“It’s important to realize that whether students are learning in or out of the classroom, they still need supplies,” said Susie Terry, coordinator for SDCOE’s Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services. “When students are learning out of the classroom, the need is often greater since they can’t share supplies with a classmate or be given supplies from their teacher.”

This year’s Stuff the Bus campaign has been solely online at https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/stuff-the-bus-2020, with no on-site collection of supplies as was done in the past. Donations are welcome in any amount -$25 will cover the cost of a backpack and supplies for a secondary-age student. In 2019, the Stuff the Bus campaign provided more than 6,800 backpacks filled with supplies to San Diego County students.

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