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United Way Volunteers Pitch In To Help Orange County Students Heading Back To School

United Way Volunteers Pitch in to Help Orange County Students heading Back to School

Hundreds of urgently needed school supplies collected and several campus improvement projects completed at inaugural “Stuff the Bus” Event in Anaheim

Wells Fargo-sponsored School Supply Drive continues throughout August

IRVINE, CA – Orange County United Way announced today that it has already collected hundreds of urgently needed school supplies during its inaugural “Stuff the Bus” school supply collection drive and that more are needed to ensure that local students go back to school prepared and ready to learn.

“As local students head back to school, it’s imperative that they have the tools they need to thrive,” said Kautrina Morgan, Orange County United Way’s Volunteer Engagement Manager and spearhead of the drive that kicked off August 6 at Madison Elementary School in Anaheim.

An energetic group of 85 volunteers comprised of United Way corporate and community partners came together to help stuff 291 backpacks, build portable salsa gardens, assemble Lego tables and flexible furniture to create space saving arrangements. Volunteers created an innovative production lab–complete with a green screen and video camera and decorate sports ball walls with positive attributes that focus on physical activity.

Volunteers from Anaheim Elementary School District, Wells Fargo, Edwards Lifesciences, Fluor, Automobile Club of Southern California, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Meguiar’s, Paul Hastings, Travelers, Union Bank, US Bank and United Way worked in teams to make quick work of the various projects in under four hours.

In an emotional speech after the projects were completed, Diane Eatherly, Principal of Madison Elementary School said, “I was honored to have my vision for a 21st century library chosen by the United Way. Thank you to the many volunteers who put so much time and passion into the projects. Our students will be inspired by all the enhancements and we will benefit from these gifts for years to come.”

In addition to volunteering, corporate sponsor Wells Fargo provided a $20,000 donation to help purchase school supplies for underserved families.

“Wells Fargo is proud to support organizations that work to strengthen our communities. We know that our company can only be as strong as the communities we serve,” said Ben Alvarado, Wells Fargo Lead Region President for Southern California. “The backpack drive is an extension of our engagement and our deep commitment to the community. The more we can help struggling students and their families get ready for school, the better their chances are for having a successful school year.”

To date several companies have participated in the collection drive including: 3M, Automobile Club of Southern California, ASP, Dish Network, Eaton, Halyard Health Nationwide, Psomas, Travelers and US Bank. So far, three companies have responded to the drive challenge and they include ACCO, Assurant and JPMorgan.

“Too many Orange County families lack the most basic resources like backpacks, calculators and notebook paper,” Morgan continued. “We’re thrilled to be making a difference in the lives of local students, and appreciate our friends at Wells Fargo, as well as donors and volunteers throughout the community, for helping us bridge the gap.”

A core element of Orange County United Way’s ten year FACE 2024 community-wide action plan is to cut the number of high school dropouts in half by the year 2024. An important milestone on the road to on-time graduation is success in elementary and middle school. Lacking necessary school supplies is a significant obstacle to success.

As the collection drive continues, local residents wishing to contribute to the school supply drive can do so by visiting www.unitedwayoc.org throughout the month of August. An online donation of just $25 buys one backpack and a $50 contribution completely fills a backpack for one elementary school student.

To learn more about the Stuff the Bus school supply drive, the Orange County United Way or other initiatives and partnerships the organization has established to support Orange County students, please visit the United Way website.


Katherine Ransom, Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Orange County United Way 949.263.6176, katheriner@unitedwayoc.org

Michael Suydam
21Strat 949.981.5008, mike@21strat.com


Since 1924, Orange County United Way has been working to improve lives and strengthen our community by mobilizing the caring power of Orange County. To do this, we focus on the building blocks for a good quality of life: Education, Income, Health and Housing. By investing in Orange County’s children, families and individuals, we help them meet their most basic human needs, including food, shelter and medical care, while at the same time creating pathways to self-sufficient futures through education and training. In short, we help people help themselves. Through our 10-year initiative “FACE 2024” (an acronym for Fund, Advocate, Collaborate, Educate), United Way is mobilizing local businesses, community organizations, governmental agencies and individuals to make a long-term measurable difference in the lives of Orange County youth and families. Orange County United Way holds a 4-star rating from America’s largest and most-utilized independent charity evaluator, Charity Navigator. To learn more or to join our movement, visit www.unitedwayoc.org.

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