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Sites taking donations to fill bus

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When you’re out shopping this week, local volunteers hope you’ll start looking for the folders, backpacks and other school supplies students need for the school year.

The number of families who need school supplies has grown in recent years. School doesn’t start for weeks, but before then, local donation events will collect the items students will need on their first day.

United Way of Johnson County plans to give school supplies to 2,400 children who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, executive director Nancy Plake said.

That total would be an increase of about 6 percent from the 2,273 children who got supplies through the program in 2013.

This school year, students start going back to school at the end of July, and the organization wants to be sure they have what they need, Plake said.

The school districts are providing United Way with lists of items, such as crayons and backpacks, that students will need, and referring families to the program who can’t afford to buy their children what they need.

Only families whom the schools invite to a distribution event can get the supplies, Plake said.

This year, Edinburgh, Center Grove, Clark-Pleasant and Indian Creek schools are requesting supplies for their students through United Way’s Stuff the Bus program.

United Way will have buses parked outside of retail stores, including Walmart, Kroger and Sam’s Club this year, on July 12 and Aug. 9.

Shoppers can pick up needed items, such as spiral bound notebooks, scissors, index cards and highlighter markers, and then donate the supplies as they leave the stores.

Businesses also are planning supply drives, and residents can collect items and drop them off at local banks or the United Way office.

From Wednesday to Aug. 11, residents can donate school supplies at any Heartland Community Bank or Mutual Saving Bank branch, as well as at the United Way of Johnson County office at 460 N. Morton St. in Franklin.

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