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(Rick Hickman/American Press)

(Rick Hickman/American Press)

Packing the bus as school year nears

Last Modified: Sunday, July 20, 2014 12:24 PM

By Justin Phillips / American Press

The aisles of the school bus parked in front of Walmart on Nelson Road on Saturday were each labeled with something different. A sign above one seat read, “Back Packs.” A handful were stacked next to one another, the price tags tangled in the straps. Another row was labeled “Kleenex,” and boxes of it were stacked high on the seat. There were seats designated for colored pencils, pens, construction paper and scissors, all of the supplies local schoolchildren could need for the upcoming year.

Saturday’s Pack the Bus event was a partnership with a handful of local businesses, including the Salvation Army. KVHP-TV spearheaded the school supply drop-off, and the rain early on didn’t have much of an effect on the process. By noon, the bus was steadily filling with items.

Under a tent next to the bus, KVHP promotions director Sofia Simancas unloaded some of the bags filled with supplies. She talked about what the event means for local families in need.

“We sign up families during the promotion, throughout and after. Over 50 families have signed up already,” Simancas said. “They tell us the types of things they need for the school year, and we try to fill those needs. We always try to work with that feedback.”

Even though the number of shoppers stopping by to drop off donations had slowed a bit, Simancas said one of the fun things about the event in general was seeing kids and adults want to help.

“Sometimes I get out there and I talk to the kids and the kids want to help. They pick up an extra pack of crayons or a notebook,” Simancas said. “Recently a lady went in for a sandwich and asked us what this we all about. We told her, she went in, did her shopping, then went all the way to the other side of the store to get some supplies to donate. It’s a great way for people to help others. Southwest Louisiana is very generous.”

David Craddock of the Salvation Army was also in attendance at the event. While taking a quick break for lunch, he discussed his organization’s role in the donation process.

“We’re always providing people with food and clothing and things of that nature throughout the year, so we contacted many of these families,” Craddock said. “There’s a lot more coming to us for the first time. What’s happening is money is running out to meet their needs and with school, there’s so many supplies and things they need. The list seems to get longer every year.”

Craddock talked about how families that are stretched financially always have a hard time gathering the school supplies their children need. He based the ability to provide for those families and those kids on the generosity of residents in the area. The help, he said, can relieve some of the stress those students may face as the school year rolls around.

“Honestly, the kids are happy to have it. They’re not singled out in class where they think, ‘They have what they need and I don’t,’ ” Craddock said. “They feel like they fit in with everybody else in their class, and it takes a load off of their minds.”

Craddock said additional supplies can be dropped off at KVHP, at 129 W. Prien Lake Road, throughout the week. The Salvation Army will begin organizing and distributing the backpacks at the end of the month.

To view more photos, visit

Posted By: Flora Proano On: 7/21/2014

Title: Congratulations

Interesting article to know what the media and the community do to help people, especially the Education of Children.

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