As summer winds down, parents and students are beginning to think about the start of the school year. While students may be dreading the impending homework they will receive, parents are focused on back to school shopping, and teachers are preparing their classrooms. Culver’s is helping to address those issues with their second annual, “Stuff the Bus” event.

“Last year Issac Ryba came up with the idea and we contacted J.R. Dachel, the principal at Greenfield, for a bus we could park outside the restaurant,” says Culver’s multiunit manager, Billi Jo Holldorf, “he said ‘okay’, and we started Stuff the Bus for the first time.”

The idea behind the Stuff the Bus event is to encourage school material donations in the month of August for the upcoming school year. Customers are able to donate three school materials for a free scoop of custard, or 10 items for a free value basket.

Of course, people are willing to donate those materials regardless of the reward knowing that it goes towards a good cause. “It’s awesome how excited a lot of the kids get about this,” says Holldorf, “it’s often not about the value basket or the free scoop for them – they just get excited about donating the items.”

Local businesses have also stepped in to help including Culver’s neighbor Compeer Financial who donated 19 backpacks to the program last year. “We’re just starting up, but we’re always hoping that we can get more businesses involved in the event,” says Holldorf, “right now we’re working with the Baldwin Public Library who have helped us to give school supplies to families who may be in need of them, but don’t really want to come forward about it.”

Last year during the launch of the event, the Baldwin Public Library joined in the program and were able to help out in a very special way. “Last year we did find out about a family who couldn't buy their supplies and we connected them with Culver's, who very generously brought a backpack with an entire list of needed items stuffed in it to the boy.” Said Baldwin Public Library Director Rebecca Dixen, “His eyes lit up as he pulled each thing out and said, ‘awesome!’ It made us feel good to see how much it helped. Between two pairs of school shoes and backpacks and supplies and clothes in the child's new size, the start of school can be very expensive for parents!”

This year, the Baldwin Public Library is continuing to help “Stuff the Bus” by acting as another drop off spot for people to bring their donations. “We will have a box by the front door if people want to put more things in,” says Dixen, “Pencils and notebooks are always useful, but each grade has a list of specific things the teachers request. Those were sent home with students, or you might be able to find those on the school website at www.bwsd.k12.wi.us.”

Culver’s is always hoping to partner with local businesses like the Baldwin Public Library that are willing to focus their attention on families, students, and teachers in need of school supplies during this project.

While the bus is parked outside of Culver’s in August, everyone is welcome to donate any school supplies that could be used by teachers and students including backpacks, binders, pencils, folders, calculators and cleaning wipes. However, just because the bus is gone at the end of the month doesn’t mean that further donations are not welcome. “We definitely won’t turn away any donations,” says Holldorf, “even after the bus leaves, we’re happy to take donations and drive them over to the school. We want to help however we can.”

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