‘Stuff the bus’! Mall helps steer needed supplies to Brevard schools

Too early to think about back-to-school supplies?

Not for the staff at Melbourne Square Mall, who kick off the annual “Stuff the Bus” drive this week.

“The whole program for ‘stuffing the bus’ is we are trying to get donations for school supplies that will go to Brevard Public Schools,” mall marketing director Alisha Kish said. “It’s the main things like pencils, papers, folders, the coloring pencils, markers. It’s the typical list of school supplies we’re trying to collect.”

The bus – yes, it’s an actual yellow school bus – will arrive at the mall July 27 and be parked inside by JC Penney until Aug. 3. The mall is located at 1700 W. New Haven Ave.

This year, there is also a second drop-off point at the Office Depot across the street. While donations can be bought anywhere and dropped off at either place, Kish said Office Depot will also have pre-packaged bags of school supplies available for purchase.

The supplies will be given to Title 1 schools in Brevard County. Title 1 is a federal designation for schools with a high percentage of low-income students.

“One of the particular schools that we are partnering with, they don’t give the families a school supply list,” Kish said. “They don’t do that for this particular school because the families just can’t afford it.”

On Aug. 3, the last day to drop off donations, the mall will have a Back-to-School Fest with vendors and special activities. That also happens to be Florida’s annual tax-free weekend for school supplies.

Kish hopes there will be enough donations to share some with teachers for their classrooms, too. Her husband is a teacher, so the cause is one near and dear to her heart.

“We’re hoping the public and the shoppers here come out and support and help the teachers and the students,” she said. “That’s the main goal.”

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