Even with temperatures reaching nearly triple digits on Friday, nothing was stopping the Ardmore community from helping out.
The United Way’s annual Stuff the Bus event took place at Walmart on Commerce street in Ardmore on Friday, with citizens from across the area donating school supplies for the upcoming school year.
Starting at 9 a.m. an Ardmore City School bus was parked in parking lot between the two main doors of Walmart, with volunteers asking for donations of school supplies.
One of the volunteers, Jordan Sloan, Dickson, was
representing Hunter Super Techs.
Sloan graduated from Dickson High School in 2012 and recalled his school days when events like this would greatly benefit he and his family.
“Most kids are not fortunate enough to have a backpack, and every little bit helps,” Sloan said. “We are out here trying to enjoy ourselves and get connected with the community.”
The Stuff the Bus event is celebrated in communities across the country. It first came to Ardmore through a joint effort by United Way of South Central Oklahoma Director tobi daniel Ervin and United Way board member Jody Westervelt.
“tobi and I organized this an event a few years ago and it has been a success ever since,” Westervelt said. “School supplies collected benefit not just the schools here in Ardmore but in the five-county area.”
The total amount of donations will not be known until it is sorted and counted, but in past events Ervin said 200-300 students in the area have benefited.
“The community is being receptive,” Ervin said.  “We have at least eight or nine buggies full of supplies already donated and several hundred dollars in cash.”
In Carter County alone, nearly 25 percent of students live in households at or under the poverty level, according to statistics provided by the Oklahoma Policy Institute.
The National Retail Federation conducted a survey in 2018, and found the average household spent $122.13 on school supplies. Events like Stuff the Bus help alleviate the burden on families purchasing school supplies for their kids.
“The community is always a big supporter of the United Way and all of the organizations that need help,” Westervelt said. “The community always shows 110 percent commitment and support to the events.”