The 2014-15 school year is right around the corner, and the Kyrene Foundation is hosting its Stuff the Bus donation drive to better equip families for the first day of school.

Stuff the Bus has been an annual donation drive put on by the Kyrene Foundation, which assists nearly 250 homeless students and 6,000 students living in poverty.

Donations sought for Stuff the Bus include: backpacks, loose-leaf notebook paper, notebooks, colored folders, markers, calculators, colored pencils and crayons, glue sticks and kid scissors. Hygienic products, from Kleenex to hand sanitizers. are also in high demand.

Once all the backpacks and other donations are received, members of the Kyrene Foundation and volunteers sort all the items and create fully stuffed backpacks.

The foundation hopes to collect enough donations to give out 1,000 stuffed backpacks before the school year starts.

Along with being prepared for the first day of school, donations also give students a sense of belonging in their classroom.

“To a family, the value of this is priceless,” said Nancy Dudenhoefer, Kyrene Foundation board member. “It’s about being ready to learn and providing the confidence to learn … when you provide a child with the items that allow them to feel confident, then they’re more likely to learn better. They feel confident about themselves and their worth, and that’s our goal.”

Businesses accepting donations include Peter Piper Pizza in Ahwatukee, 5975 W. Ray Road, and four Walgreens locations in Tempe and Ahwatukee.

Kelly Kinworthy, field marketing specialist for Peter Piper Pizza’s corporate office, said the Stuff the Bus drive brings awareness to the community about families who are in need during the new school year.

“Any way we can help out with the schools we find is beneficial for us and the schools,” she said.

Donations can also be dropped off at the Kyrene School District Office, 8700 S. Kyrene Road, Tempe, no later than Friday, July 18. For more information about Stuff the Bus and where to donate items, visit www.kyrene.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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