School supply initiatives set for Sales Tax Holiday
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Aug 02, 2012 | 937 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DON LEDFORD AUTOMOTIVE CENTER will host the “Stuff the Bus” event Saturday in which a school bus will be parked to be filled with donated school supplies to help children in need in both the Cleveland and Bradley County school systems. School supplies will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The “Stuff the Bus” event is sponsored by the automotive dealership, United Way of Bradley County Inc. and WCLE Mix 104.1. From left are Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel, Debbie Ledford Melton of Don Ledford Automotive Center and Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Martin Ringstaff. Submitted Photo
DON LEDFORD AUTOMOTIVE CENTER will host the “Stuff the Bus” event Saturday in which a school bus will be parked to be filled with donated school supplies to help children in need in both the Cleveland and Bradley County school systems. School supplies will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The “Stuff the Bus” event is sponsored by the automotive dealership, United Way of Bradley County Inc. and WCLE Mix 104.1. From left are Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel, Debbie Ledford Melton of Don Ledford Automotive Center and Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Martin Ringstaff. Submitted Photo
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Area residents who fill their shopping carts this weekend with school supplies during the seventh annual Sales Tax Holiday potentially could be buying for either of three causes, or perhaps even all three or more.

Their purchases, if made between 12:01 a.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, could net almost a 10 percent savings thanks to the tax-free weekend.

The recipients of their buys could include their own children and families, but another choice might be Saturday’s “Stuff the Bus” campaign in which the Don Ledford Automotive Center is hosting a bright yellow school bus which will be loaded down with donated school supplies from Cleveland and Bradley County area contributors who are eager to help the Cleveland City and Bradley County School systems.

“Stuff the Bus” school supply donations will be divided between city and county school systems whose administrators will make the supplies available to students in need.

The bus stuffing will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the dealership. Program sponsors include Ledford Automotive, United Way of Bradley County Inc. and WCLE Mix 104.1.

Another choice for school supply donors is the third annual School Supply Provision, a program coordinated by The Refuge Community Centre whose volunteers and staff operate from the Family Support Center. Their targeted program recipients are neighborhoods and families within the East Cleveland area.

Kelli Kyle, who coordinates community development efforts for The Refuge, pointed out the agency’s school supply initiative is expected to provide for more than 300 registered students whose families have qualified for the assistance. The School Supply Provision includes a new backpack filled with school supplies that have been donated by the community. The backpacks are sold to qualifying families for $1.

Proceeds from the project are used to purchase school supplies for the following year’s program. Charging the $1 fee is part of The Refuge mission to promote self-sufficiency within the low-income neighborhoods that the agency serves as well as to enhance the self-esteem of struggling young parents and families.

Deadline for registering for School Supply Provision assistance was Wednesday. The program will distribute the school supplies Saturday at the Family Support Center. Families picking up their backpacks of school supplies will have already been approved by The Refuge for this assistance.

School Supply Provision partners that have supported The Refuge program with community collection barrels include T.J.Maxx, the New Covenant Church of God, Durkee Road Church of God of Prophecy, Berean Baptist, SkyRidge Medical Center and the Southern Adventist University in Ooltewah.

Questions about The Refuge’s program may be directed to the agency at 423-584-5211.

The “Stuff the Bus” program is the product of a similar drive last year in the aftermath of the April 27, 2011, tornadoes when participating partners and sponsors collected school supplies for families, schools and teachers who were impacted by the devastating storms. Program sponsors chose to offer the program again this year, according to a news release provided by United Way.

“We had such a great outpouring of donations when we hosted a similar event following the April 2011 tornadoes, and thought it would be good for both school systems to have a similar event right before schools start this year,” according to Automotive Center owner Debbie Ledford Melton in an earlier announcement of the program.

She added, “We have all heard of stories where teachers end up purchasing items for their classrooms, and in many cases for their students who may not have the adequate materials. This will not only help these children, but will also help our teachers not have to use their own money for this purpose.”

Donors can find a generic list of school supplies needed on the United Way of Bradley County website at www.unitedwaybc.com and on the agency’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unitedway-bradleycounty.