Chatham County’s Salvation Army and its volunteers are preparing for a back-to-school supplies drive they’re calling “Stuff the Bus.” This week, we speak with Jane Wrenn, the Army’s local director, who’s been in Chatham County for 40 years and celebrates her 10 year anniversary this year with The Salvation Army of Chatham.
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Salvation Army’s ‘Stuff the Bus’ program helps gather supplies for Chatham students
Chatham County’s Salvation Army and its volunteers are preparing for a back-to-school supplies drive they’re calling “Stuff the Bus.” This week, we speak with Jane Wrenn, the Army’s local director, who’s been in Chatham County for 40 years and celebrates her 10 year anniversary this year with The Salvation Army of Chatham. Most of Wrenn’s career has been working in nonprofits in Chatham. A graduate of Elon, she and her husband Robert, a Siler City native, and their daughter, Beth, live in Siler City. Their son and daughter-in-law, Adam and Kate, live in Raleigh.
The Salvation Army is collaborating with Chatham County’s Walmarts for a “Stuff the Bus” event on Aug. 3 to enable people to donate back-to-school items for local needy students. What’s the purpose, and what’s your goal — volume-wise — for the event?
The purpose of this back to school drive is to ensure that Chatham County children that might not otherwise be ready for the new year with the necessary items, be prepared to have the best start up for the new school year. Many Chatham County children do not have the means to purchase school supplies so we are hoping to give those less fortunate children a great start. By providing a back-to-school drive, you not only support the students, but you help the teachers and the local schools. We are hoping to provide 200 children with school supplies to start the year off in a big way. You can drop off items at Walmart
at 12500 U.S. 15/501 North Street in Chapel Hill between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
What kinds of items are in need the most?
Most school supplies are needed for children in grades K-12. Backpacks for the higher grades are needed. Chatham County schools provide all high school students with laptops so the stronger backpacks are needed the most. Of course, elementary school children are in need of backpacks also. Pencils, pens, notebook paper, notebooks, folders, highlighters, rulers, glue sticks, tissues, hand sanitizers, hand held calculators are just a few items that are in need. Of course, any donation is most appreciated.
The United Way of Chatham County is having a similar program; their “Build a Backpack” program is the day prior. How do these two events complement each other?
The Salvation Army of Chatham County is a proud United Way of Chatham County agency and has been for many years. The United Way and The Salvation Army have already been in contact and have discussed how to work together in this effort for the benefit of Chatham County students. We are hoping to leave no child behind in this effort. We will be collaborating together in this back to school drive to provide Chatham County children the opportunities to receive the necessary supplies to begin the 2019/2020 school year off right. We will be receiving the names, ages, and grades of less fortunate children in our county from the school system, Pathway of Hope program, our Angel Tree program, and other nonprofits that work with children.
For “Stuff the Bus” — how can people make donations who might not be able to travel to Walmart on that day?
People who can’t make it to our “Stuff the Bus” event on Aug. 3 can drop off supplies or a donation at the following locations prior to the event day: The Salvation Army office at 2535 Old U.S. Hwy. 421 North, Siler City, or in Pittsboro at our satellite office in the Habitat for Humanity building at 467 West Street, Pittsboro. You can also mail a financial donation to our mailing address at The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 752, Pittsboro, N.C. 27312.
“Stuff the Bus” comes at a busy time for you — you’re also in the process of moving your offices in Siler City. Can you talk about that?
Of course. We are excited to announce our new Siler City location at 2535 Old U.S. Hwy. 421 North. We are in the old Jerry Harris auction warehouse north of town that has been completely renovated. We are sharing our new location with Chatham Trades, the West Chatham Food Pantry and Chatham Transit. Chatham Trades is the anchor business and they are hoping to provide office space for additional nonprofit organizations so folks can get several services in one location. The Salvation Army is excited to be able to offer our Siler City clients the opportunity to receive food from the West Chatham Food Pantry when coming to see us. We also collaborate with CORA Food Pantry in Pittsboro and can offer that same service to our Pittsboro clients as well. Having several non-profits in one location is beneficial to those we serve as they often times do not have transportation or gas to travel long distances.