NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The new school year begins in just one week and dozens of families are calling 211 looking for help with school supplies. Needy families used to be able to get the necessary papers, pens and pencils at the Mayor's First Day festival, but not this year. Mayor Dean's office is opting not to host the event. So what are those families supposed to do?
"Pencils, crayons, papers folders, anything you needed on your first day of school we're trying to prepare these kids with the same," United Way's Melanie Shinbaum explained.
For the fourth year, the United Way is organizing its "Stuff the Bus" campaign. This year they expect to provide backpacks to more than 3,000 needy students
"If you think back to your first day of school and the pride you had of walking in with your own backpack and supplies," Shinbaum explained, "it's the pride a lot of these kids don't have so we want them to hit the door that first day ready and excited."
The supplies are being boxed up and taken to the United Ways school and community resource centers for delivery. According to the Tennessee report card 75 percent of metro students were classified as economically disadvantaged last year. While the ability to buy school supplies are something many may take for granted for some kids it makes all the difference.
The United Way is accepting donations until Wednesday. Those who still need supplies should call 211 to be referred to the center closest to them.