Back-to-school shopping can be a fun way to kick off the school year and get children excited about being back in the classroom.

New shoes, lunchbox, and clothes may all be on the standard "back to school" list, but so are the necessary school supplies that children need to succeed.

Some families are not able to afford the necessities that are required for their child's education. The Schuylkill United Way recognizes and understands this need and is hosting "Stuff the Bus" for the 11th year in Schuylkill County.

The Schuylkill United Way's annual Stuff the Bus program will be kicked off on Monday, July 1, and run until July 29. Stuff the Bus is an annual school supply drive that collects hundreds of supplies for children in need. Vans, donated by Newhurst, Inc., will be placed inside the Schuylkill Mall, Cressona Mall, and Fairlane Village Mall, where donations can be placed between July 1 and July 29.

The following supplies are needed: backpacks, pens, pencils, erasers, notebooks, binders, folders, rulers, crayons, highlighters, staplers, markers, etc.

The children and families in the following Schuylkill United Way partner agencies will benefit: Avenues, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of America/Hawk Mt. Council, Child Development, Inc., Schuylkill YMCA, Schuylkill County Society for Crippled Children, SARCC, Schuylkill Wellness Services, Schuylkill Women in Crisis, Pottsville Salvation Army, Tamaqua Salvation Army, and Tamaqua YMCA.

Last year's event was a great success - with over 1,400 children receiving back to school items due to the generosity of the community. Each agency carefully selects the children and families who receive backpacks, many of whom already participate in programs and services offered by the agency.

The Schuylkill United Way has once again joined in a great partnership this year to help with the Stuff the Bus event.

The Schuylkill United Way and the Schuylkill Mall have special promotions during the Stuff the Bus event. Tuesdays in July, prizes will be available to win at Stuff the Bus during Schuylkill County Idol. For every item donated to "Stuff the Bus" during the event, attendees of the event will receive one ticket for the raffle prize drawing.

Also in the month of July, Schuylkill United Way will be hosting a Community Appreciation Day on July 23rd at the Schuylkill Mall. Each of the Schuylkill United Way 15 agencies will be there to provide children with a free craft or activity.

The Schuylkill United Way has partnered with the mall, which will be providing a lunch and a craft that day and McCann School of Business will be offering snow cones.

The whole day will kick off at 9:30 a.m. with a free movie, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", compliments of Pearl Theatres.

Donations will help the United Way reach their goal and touching the lives of over 1000 Schuylkill County children.