|The 15th annual event was held Friday at Walmart|
Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston:
Over $10,000 worth of school supplies were collected during Friday’s Pack the Bus event at Walmart. Pictured in the school supply aisle at Walmart are (back row, from left) Dr. Mark Church, Eric Hellkamp, Susan Farris, Amanda Hairfield, Debra Bowles and Sondra Agee. Along with the Eagle mascot and various local children, they helped collect monetary donations.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Friday's steady rain did not hinder the efforts of Walmart to conduct a successful "Pack the Bus" event to collect school supplies for underprivileged local children.
The 15th annual event raised over $10,000 in supplies and monetary donations.
"The community really came out and gave big this year," said Walmart Personnel Manager Susan Farris.
Linda Catlett of Henry donated her usual buggy-load of supplies.
Farris said one man, who declined to give his name, donated four buggy-loads of supplies. Ann Flora and Teresa Kingery donated $200, and the Eagle mascot, along with children of Walmart employees, collected $400 in monetary donations from local shoppers.
Miss Greater Franklin County Princess 2014, Vandalina Holcomb, was also on hand to help with the event.
Longtime event partner Q99 was not involved with the fundraiser this year for the first time in more than a decade. The reason behind the split is unclear.
"The odds were against us this year with the loss of Q99's support and then with the rainy weather, but we made it work as a team, and the schools and kids will still benefit," Farris said.
All supplies collected at the Rocky Mount event will stay in Franklin County and will be distributed to children in county schools. School officials will handle the distribution of the donated school supplies.
The project has collected more than $500,000 in school supplies over the past 14 years.
Walmart sponsored the event this year with help from Pepsi, Wise, Kellogg's and a large donation of supplies from Westlake Kroger.
The Rocky Mount McDonald's also gave out food coupons to county teachers.
Last year, the community donated over $4,100 in school supplies for area students in need.
"Pack the Bus was a successful event due to the hard work of the entire Walmart team," said Keith Pennington, director of curriculum and instruction for Franklin County schools. "I was very impressed with the commitment and work ethic of Walmart staff. We were fearful that the loss of Q99 and its sponsorship would hurt the event, but it was successful and will provide many needed supplies for our students and schools."
"As always, the Franklin County community really stepped up and helped make a rainy Friday fun," he added. "We appreciate everyone involved with the event."