The annual partnership of Office Max and Placerville Union School District once again reaped a bounty of school supplies just in time for the Fall term. Organized by the district’s Family Resource Director Tara Turrentine for the sixth straight year, Stuff the Bus donations came in by check, cash and purchases from Office Max. She credited Mountain Democrat columnist Bob Billingsley’s “Heard Over the Back Fence” mention of the event as having generated a number of checks.
Turrentine acknowledged that fewer donations were received on Aug. 8, the day of the event than she anticipated, however a substantial number of backpacks, pencils and the like continued to roll in for several more days.
“Office Max staff and new Manager Tricia were excellent, as always,” Turrentine wrote in an e-mail to the Mountain Democrat. “I also had a woman ask me all about what kind of backpacks I needed — size, colors, etc. She came and brought more than a dozen beautiful pink backpacks to my office the next day. Unfortunately, I wasn’t here at the time, and I never got her name. But, she restored my faith in humanity,”
More humanity came in the form of Hands 4 Hope, the El Dorado Hills-based organization that does good works all over the country. The group contacted Turrentine earlier offering help if needed. She said she made a “huge” request which was “fulfilled above and beyond and delivered everything to my office.”
She described a day of feverish activity as she and her co-worker “organized my office like a store” and opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning Aug. 13.
“We gave away over 175 backpacks and still have enough for the kids who will come through my program this school year. The only thing I ran out of was pencil sharpeners and scissors.”
Turrentine directs the district’s McKinney-Vento Program based on federal legislation designed to assist school children who are homeless or otherwise at risk of dropping out or doing poorly in school. The number of children eligible for the local program has grown exponentially over the past several years, she said.
In addition to Office Max and Hands 4 Hope, Turrentine acknowledged the help from “wonderful volunteers, my faithful friends, a couple of retired teachers and a parent who has helped me all six years.”
Annie Lynn is that parent. Noemia Plank, Lynn Picco and Jan Melnicoe round out the volunteer bus stuffers.
Turrentine concluded her e-mail with a “Moral of the Story:”
“In the end, there is a surplus of backpacks and school supplies in our county … Agencies often give after school starts. Many kids seek out and need school supplies before school starts. You can’t recreate the preparedness and complete feelings kids start their first day with when they have a new backpack and all that they need to do schoolwork and homework.”
Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected] Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.