SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – United Way of Piedmont has been collecting thousands of school supplies as part of their back-to-school “Stuff the Bus” event, for students in all seven Spartanburg school districts.

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It’s an unfortunate fact that back-to-school shopping isn’t cheap. The National Retail Federation found parents will spend more than $26.5 billion dollars on school supplies. That averages out to more than $660 dollars per student.

Alex Moore, Director of Marketing and Communications, said this annual event partners Spartanburg businesses with United Way to collect much needed school supplies.

This year the United Way of Piedmont worked with 40 different Spartanburg companies. Each business has collected supplies to “Stuff the Bus” on Friday, August 2nd.

“We are going to take a bus around to those 40 companies and physically stuff the bus. Last year we had over 560 backpacks put together. So, we’re hoping to do even more this year,” Moore said.

In downtown Spartanburg at Blue Moon Specialty Foods, community members have been encouraged to donate supplies in exchange for 10% off any purchase.

This is the first year that the community was invited to participate in donations. Moore said the aim is to help the more than 28% of Spartanburg county students living in poverty.

“Stuff the Bus is really a community wide effort to rally around our kids and make sure that they have all the tools that they need to be successful in their academic career,” Moore said.

This is is the second “Stuff the Bus” event hosted by United Way of Piedmont. Moore said people can donate school supplies to Blue Moon Specialty Foods until Friday, August 2nd.

For more information about the “Stuff the Bus” event, click here.