Stuff the bus

25 tons of school supplies


The first day of school is pure excitement unless…you don’t have the supplies needed.

Making sure every child has a memorable first-day-of-school experience regardless of background, home life or economic status is the goal of Stuff the Bus, a community event that helps provide school supplies to Warren County and Bowling Green school-age children.

Not surprisingly, Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (WRECC)is an important part of the program, which has grown every year since its start in 2005. Each year, community members come together to provide everything from basic school supplies to sports equipment and clothing to monetary donations—all to help area children and the schools they attend.

Warren RECC employees Mark Cardwell and Brittiany Hudson shop with donated dollars at the Morgantown IGA, effectively doubling the donation, thanks to a partnership with Houchens Industries. Photo: Kim Phelps

“WRECC employees live and work here,” says Kim Phelps, Communications and Public Relations director, who organized the cooperative’s efforts this year. “This program is so attractive to us because 100 percent of the donations go to the kids, and they stay in the county where they were donated. Stuff the Bus gives us yet another chance to interact with our communities, and our employees really enjoy that.”

Kids, parents and teachers enjoyed the co-op’s efforts also, especially the parking lot parties.

“This year, Stuff the Bus made a big leap in growth through a partnership with Houchens Industries,” Phelps says. “With this partnership, Stuff the Bus went on the road to several communities in our service territory, hosting parking lot parties at Houchens-affiliated stores (IGA, Save-A-Lot, among others). Each event was to collect donations but also to encourage shoppers to grab something while they shopped and donate it. Houchens matched everything purchased at their stores.”

Warren RECC Apprentice Lineman Preston Fletcher, Bowling Green, helps load donated school supplies at the Bowling Green “Stuff the Bus” celebration at Bluegrass Cellular. Photo: Kim Phelps

Warren RECC participated in parking lot parties in Morgantown, Franklin and Bowling Green.

“Our staff served as community ambassadors, meeting each customer with a smile,” Phelps says. “We also helped by shopping with donated dollars so those donations could be doubled for their communities. In Bowling Green, we flew a donation banner on a bucket truck to help attract the public, helped pick up corporate donations and literally helped ‘stuff the bus.’”

“As for next year, we’ll be doing it bigger and better. Everyone is committed to starting earlier and growing next year. I just think that’s a great testament to the Warren RECC folks. They have the biggest hearts,” says Phelps.

By Debra Gibson Isaacs