by Photo via Unsplash

The San Diego County Office of Education raised more than $100,000 in donations for children experiencing homelessness in its seventh annual Stuff the Bus school supplies drive. 

The San Diego community gave $107,000 online to this annual event and at checkout stands at Ralphs and Food 4 Less grocery stores during the eight-week campaign. The funds will be used to purchase school supplies for children experiencing homelessness. 

There are more than 18,000 school-aged children who were identified as homeless during the 2021-22 school year, according to the county. 

According to the San Diego County Office of Education, there were 8,686 backpacks filled, including more than 222,000 individual supplies. An additional 250 backpacks and 634 pairs of headphones and earbuds were also purchased. 

The San Diego Youth Services food programs will also receive the funds to benefit homeless youth. 

In 2021, the Stuff the Bus campaign raised just over $100,000 and filled 7,977 backpacks with supplies for San Diego County students. 

“Knowing that so many in our communities are still experiencing challenges of their own, it’s heartwarming to see that people recognize how important it is for students experiencing homelessness to have the necessary items to attend school – and are willing and able to take action and help,” said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “We appreciate the donations and compassion shown by our community to support our students."

The donations will help fill requests the county received from its Homeless Education Services, which came from 33 school districts and 34 charter schools. This is the third consecutive Stuff the Bus Campaign that has relied on monetary donations to purchase school supplies. 

“Homelessness affects students from all across San Diego County, and for school-age children, can mean living in a shelter, living in a car or trailer, or sharing a residence with other families. Young people who leave school without a diploma or equivalent are 4 1/2 times more likely to experience homelessness as a young adult,” the county wrote in a release” 

The county formally hosted drives where thousands of supplies were collected and placed in backpacks for students. 

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