UC Merced said it has partnered with Rock Da Block, a program run through a local nonprofit, to provide backpacks and school supplies for Merced County children in preschool through 12th grade.
According to Merced County Superintendent of Schools Lee Andersen, this year more children than ever are expected to lack the supplies they need to go back to school prepared for success, the university said in a news release.
“In these challenging economic times, many of our local families do not have the means to purchase school supplies after they have taken care of their basic living expenses,” said UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang. “We are excited to join Rock Da Block and the greater community to provide students with the materials they need to be successful in the classroom and beyond.”
UC Merced and Rock Da Block hope to hand out thousands of backpacks during the “Stuff the Bus” school supply drive, which ends Aug. 31. “This event will give kids a jump-start on getting ready for school and will help level the playing field for even our most impoverished families,” said Rock Da Block organizer Nellie Muniz Smith. “We encourage those members of the community who can contribute to do so.”
Suggested donation items include new backpacks, pencils (No. 2 with eraser), ballpoint pens, crayons (in the box), lined paper, glue sticks, construction paper, erasers, colored pencils and markers, safety scissors, pencil cases, spiral bound notebooks, pocket folders, rulers and protractors, white school glue, three-ring binders, scientific calculators, graph paper, staplers, pencil sharpeners (small), highlighters and hand sanitizer.
Individuals and businesses are encouraged to donate new school supplies in the barrels or boxes at the collection sites listed below or at school buses located in the parking lot on the day of the drop-off events.
Collection Sites (during regular business hours): Board of Supervisors, Merced County Building, 2222 M St., Merced; BBVA Compass Bank, 3065 G. St., Merced; Christian Life Center, 650 East Olive Ave., Merced; Merced City Council, Merced Civic Center, 678 West 18th St., Merced; Merced Police Department, 611 West 22nd St.; Merced Schools Employees Federal Credit Union, 1021 Olivewood Dr., Merced; 1935 M St., Merced; 101 Bellevue Road, Atwater; 1450 South Mercy Springs Road, Los Banos; Mondo Building, 1715 Canal St., Merced; Rabobank, 2000 M St. branch and 731 East Yosemite Ave. branch.
Drop-Off Event Locations Aug. 14 and Aug. 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Merced AAA Insurance parking lot, 3065 M St.; Kohl's parking lot at the Merced Mall; Target parking lot at the Merced Mall; Atwater Kmart parking lot, 1085 Bellevue Road; Los Banos Target parking lot, 1405 West Pacheco Blvd. Once the school supplies are collected, sorted and stuffed, UC Merced students and staff will help distribute the backpacks to schools throughout the county.
People can make a monetary donation to help with the basic supplies needed. For more information or to make a donation, call (209) 224-1794 or (209) 777-7272.