PRESTONSBURG – Summer is winding down and students and parents are making their yearly shopping trips for new school clothes and supplies. One doesn’t need a master’s degree in math to know the cost of school supplies adds up quickly. According to a report by USA Today, the average K-12 parent will spend more than $100 per student on school supplies this year. If one buys everything on the list, the cost can jump to over $400 per student and school clothes are not included in that price. However, locally, Prestonsburg Walmart has teamed up with Floyd County Schools to take some of the burden off of parents this schoolyear with Operation Stuff the Bus.
“As a single mom of two children, I struggle to pay bills and this time of years is particularly tough because the cost of preparing for school increases with age,” said Tonya Slone of Allen. “Not only do I have to find a way to make sure my son has decent clothes and shoes, I also am asked to buy four or five notebooks, pencils, color pencils, crayons, jump drives, tissue, hand sanitizer and even copy paper for the classroom.”
Tonya Williams, Floyd County Schools’ Chief Academic Officer and the administration and staff of the entire school system care about all of the children in the district. Without proper school supplies, students can fall behind and even have behavior concerns if they are embarrassed by what they don’t have. She contacted Prestonsburg Walmart to ask if it would be willing to partner with Floyd County Schools to have a school supply drive. Store Manager Brad Akers and Assistant Manager John Rose along with other members of the Walmart management team agreed to promote the Operation Stuff the Bus program.
“We see these parents daily, they are our customers and we appreciate them,” said Akers. “Part of the culture of Walmart is to become a part of the community through hard times. Eastern Kentucky is suffering from a loss of jobs and this is affecting families in various ways. If we can lighten the burden of our Floyd County families just a little then that is what we want to do.”
Akers and Rose decided to start the school supply donation drive by donating $1,200 worth of school supplies to Floyd County Schools. A Floyd County school bus is parked in the parking lot of Prestonsburg Walmart to remind customers of the program. Operation Stuff the Bus is going on at other Walmart stores in the region to prepare students for the schoolyear and remind parents that Walmart appreciates their business.
Grab bags filled with school supplies- ranging from $5 to $10 – are available inside Walmart. Operation Stuff the Bus will run through August 15.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at( 606) 886-8506.