Getting ready for back to school: Fuel Ardmore's Stuff the Backpack project well under way
Though it’s not yet the Fourth of July, the members of FUEL Ardmore are already getting busy gathering school supplies for their annual Stuff the Backpack drive. The project began 15 years ago when FUEL was still known as the Ardmore Young Professionals, but even though the name of the organization has changed and the methods are somewhat different, the goal of Stuff the Backpack remains the same: getting school supplies into the hands of children that need them
The entire process begins in June and lasts through the early days of August, and members of the community are invited to donate school supplies such as crayons, blue and black pens, safety scissors, highlighters, #2 pencils, flash drives, notebook paper, 3-ring binders and 3-ring pencil pouches.
Those who wish to make a financial donation can do so online at www.fuelardmore.org or by making checks payable to FUEL, and sending them or dropping them off at the office of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce located at 410 W. Main St.
Supplies can be dropped off at a number of locations across town including: American Nation Bank at 1901 N Commerce and 1117 S. Commerce, the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce at 410 W. Main, Banc First at 310 W. Main, First National Bank at 405 W. Main, KICM at 661 1st. AVE., Main Street Coffee at 108 W. Main, Premier Truck Group at 3601 12th AVE NW., the Southern Oklahoma Board of Realtors at 200 Stanley St., and Staples at 1209 N. Commerce.
Service Chair Sarah Johnson, said all donations of supplies and money will go directly to helping students.
“Every single item or dollar donated to Stuff the Backpack goes straight back to kids in need,” Johnson said. “We don’t use a single fund of those donations to even finance the drive itself. Any money we receive we convert into bulk school supplies to close the gap that the students may need versus items the public donated.”
Johnson said. All donations received will be distributed to the local schools, Ardmore, Dickson, Plainview, Lone Grove and Springer where they will go into storage containers.
“That way the kids who need the supplies will have access to them the moment they’re needed,” Johnson said.
She said she is incredibly thankful for the community’s generosity — especially at such a difficult time.
“Our sponsors have been amazing,” Johnson said. “Dot Foods, Mercy Hospital, the Southern Oklahoma Realty Board and Staples have been so generous. And all the individuals who have contributed are amazing as well. We’re so thankful to live in a community where they support our kids and our local school districts. They realize the kids are the future, and we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk.”