‘Stuff the Bus’ event to help 1,000 Valley students

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Huntington Bank is giving away 1,000 backpacks to needy students in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Mercer counties with partnering organizations helping to raise money and school supplies.

The “Stuff the Bus” kickoff event Friday was outside Huntington’s downtown branch. Officials with some of the participating organizations placed boxes of school supplies already collected into the back of a small Alta Head Start school bus.

For the past nine years, Huntington has donated backpacks to local low- to moderate-income students.

Cocca’s Pizza and Great Clips are collecting donations to help pay for school supplies. The United Way organizations in the counties will distribute the backpacks and supplies to students with 21-WFMJ TV as a sponsor.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” said William C. Shivers, Huntington’s president of the Canton & Mahoning Valley Regions. “We want to give all kids every opportunity that everyone has. One of the worst things for a kid is to not have a backpack while other kids have them. It singles them out. This way, they can be part of the team.”

Local Cocca’s Pizza restaurants and Great Clips stores will collect money and school supplies. Those who donate $5 to sponsor a child will get a coupon for a free Cocca’s pepperoni roll and $3 coupon for a haircut at Great Clips.

“This is a four-county collaboration,” said Bob Hannon, president of the United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley. “We’re touching a lot of families. As the school year begins we will distribute the supplies.”

The money will be used to purchase school supplies including notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons and glue sticks, Shivers said.

“Nothing is more important than building the foundation for a bright future for our youth,” he said.