By Pauline Derry
Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) is currently holding its annual school supply drive to help students in need receive a quality education during this upcoming school year. This summer, from now through Thursday, September 30, the group is collecting supplies such as backpacks, pencils, crayons and paper to restock the shelves of its Teaching Tools Resource Center, a free store where teachers from Title 1 schools can come and shop for supplies twice per semester during the school year.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak last year, HEF had to clear the shelves and give out more products than typical because students could no longer share supplies. As a result of this, the group needs more help than ever to reach its goal and ensure it has enough supplies for every student to have the appropriate materials to succeed in the classroom.
On Saturday, July 31, HEF is putting on its second annual Stuff the Bus Supply Drive event held at Westfield Brandon, where you can drop off supplies in its parking lot or inside the mall, where you can find donation drop-off bins.
Along with this, there are several other easy opportunities to help.
“The best way to get involved is to host a drive,” said Mike McCollum, chief advancement officer at HEF.
“We have marketing materials and boxes to give to businesses who want to host a drive and we even pick up the donations after the drive is over,” he added.
Since the pandemic is still affecting some businesses, HEF offers ways to help remotely, such as holding a virtual school supply drive where you can donate a cash amount on the website or purchase needed school supplies on its Amazon Wish List, which ships directly to them.
Although the group collects most of its donations throughout the summer before the school year starts, HEF welcomes donations all year round and you can find a list of the top 20 most needed school supplies on its website.