Business Neighbors Schools

Volunteers Help Make Back-To-School Season A Bit Easier For Families

Credit: United Way of Bucks County

The average cost of back-to-school shopping for kids in elementary through high school is $697, according to data from the National Retail Federation.

The cost covers classroom supplies but also everything else, including clothes.

For thousands of families in Bucks County, the cost of gearing their kids up for school can be just a bit too much on their bank account.

In Bucks County, a program has worked for the past nine years to help lower-income families prepare their students for the school year.

Credit: United Way of Bucks County

This summer, donations from kind-hearted residents, organizations, and businesses helped collect enough supplies to pack new backpacks for the United Way of Bucks County’s “Stuff the Bus” drive.

Last Thursday, volunteers gathered at Westby Hall at the Fairless Hills Fire Company in Falls Township to pack the backpacks.

Across the large hall, volunteers worked in assembly lines to back bags with donated school supplies. By late afternoon, the backpacks were loaded into vehicles and transported around the county.

Credit: United Way of Bucks County

Danielle Bush, who coordinates the countywide Stuff the Bus program, said more than 3,000 backpacks were filled as part of the program this year. Families in need have until 5 p.m. Monday to request a backpack for their kids.

Years ago, Jennifer Dredge needed some aid and received help getting her kids school supplies. In the years since, she’s given back to help through the program and recently joined the United Way of Bucks County’s Board of Directors.

“Back to school is hard for families who can’t afford it,” Dredge explained. “And many times this can help them.”

Aside from helping families in need, the Bristol native enjoys seeing volunteers who have become friends year after year.

“It’s a tradition for me,” she said after packing backpacks. “It’s really more like a holiday.”

Credit: United Way of Bucks County
Credit: Tom Sofield/

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.