By Wendy Gragg

Killeen Daily Herald

Communities In Schools, Bell-Coryell Counties Inc. is asking community members to "stuff the bus" and boost a child's self-confidence.

The nonprofit agency – which serves school children in Belton, Copperas Cove, Killeen, Salado and Temple school districts – is hoping to get a little help from the community in providing school supplies to students who need them.

"If people could just sponsor a child, make a donation," said CIS Executive Director Mary Barr.

CIS will hold its annual school supply drive, "Stuff the Bus" during the tax-free weekend, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 5 and 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 6. During that time, school supplies and monetary donations will be accepted at the store front of Sears and J.C. Penney at the Killeen Mall and at Casa Ol, Foley's Food Court and Dillard's at the Temple Mall.

Barr said CIS is serving a total of more than 6,000 students in the five school districts this year. Of those students, she said about half probably won't have the supplies needed to start the school year, and another 25 percent may need help with supplies before the year is out. This year could be worse than past years.

"We're really concerned about school supplies this year because living costs have gone so high," she said.

CIS caseworkers determine students who truly need help with school supplies. CIS needs donations of all school supplies, from pencils for the elementary school crowd to backpacks for high school kids. Barr said it doesn't matter what age the student is – not having the required supplies can be a big deal.

"It's an emotional blow to them when they don't have what they need," she said. "We want it to be a good start (of school), a positive start so their self-confidence is as high as possible. We owe it to our children to get them off to a good start."

CIS can take donations before the Stuff the Bus campaign, if people want to drop goods off at the CIS office at 4520 East Hwy. 190, Suite 106, near Patriot Pontiac.

For further information or to make a donation, please contact Communities In Schools at 254-554-2132.

Contact Wendy Gragg at

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