Apple Federal Credit Union’s “Stuff the Bus” Program to Provide Thousands of Needy Kids with Back-to-School Supplies
CONTACT: Sandra Remey
Fairfax, Va.—Some kids in northern Virginia will be able to kick off the upcoming school year with confidence because many will be recipients of new backpacks from Apple Federal Credit Union’s “Stuff the Bus” program. Apple members and the public are encouraged to drop off new school supplies and backpacks at Apple branches located throughout Fairfax and Loudoun counties by August 9, and Prince William and Stafford counties by August 20.
In Fairfax County, Apple is partnering with Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County Government, and numerous nonprofits to get the supplies into the hands that need them most. According to Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax student enrollment totaled more than 175,000 during the last school year, giving it the largest student enrollment in Virginia. More than 39,000 of these students qualified for free or reduced meals, so the need is great.
Sofia Echaide is a counselor at Franconia Elementary School, where she has seen the need for backpacks and school supplies grow every year. “You can’t drive through the neighborhoods and see the poverty because in our area, the needy aren’t living in run-down homes or apartments. Instead they are living next door to a townhouse or big house where homeowners have a dual income of six figures, but they are renting a single bedroom or basement for their families.”
Maria is a mother of two with another baby on the way. She had to stop work because of her pregnancy and is now on food stamps. She has no money for school supplies for Alex, her second grader, to return to school.
“When Alex received his back pack last year, he was so excited. It made his entire school experience start off right because he could be like everyone else,” says Ms. Echaide. “When even our neediest kids can have new school supplies, everyone is equal and has the same opportunity to be successful in school.”
Lisa Kelly, a former second grade teacher at Mount Eagle Elementary School in Fairfax Country, said 80 percent of the kids at her school qualified for free or reduced meals (breakfast and lunch), which for many was the only food they had each day.
“Last year David, one of my 7-year-old students, came to the first day of class with no supplies because his family could not afford them,” explains Ms. Kelly. “When I told him that I could help him get what he needed, his face just lit up, and the next day he had a new backpack with all the needed supplies inside.
“Kids who have the supplies take it for granted. Kids who don’t have them are very aware that they don’t have what others do. These kids take extra care of their supplies because it really means something to them.”
“Every year our Stuff the Bus program has grown,” says Cynthia McAree, vice president of marketing for Apple Federal Credit Union. “We continue to try and raise awareness so that we can extend our reach. This year, through our partnership with Fairfax County, we have done just that.”
“Our partnership with Apple Federal Credit Union was a logical move for us because it expanded our continuing effort to provide back-to-school supplies for needy kids,” says Captain Will Bailey, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. “We’ve been working with the school system to help identify the kids who need these supplies, and now through Apple’s Stuff the Bus program, we’ll be able to fill the growing need.”
For drop-off locations in each county and the specific donations needed, go to https://www.applefcu.org/stuffthebus.asp
Apple Federal Credit Union’s Mission: Through a lifelong partnership with anyone touched by education, Apple FCU helps members achieve their dreams by offering competitive financial solutions, with dedicated personal service. Apple exists, not for profit, but for the benefit of its members.