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United Way Teams Up with Peter Pan, Six Flags to Stuff the Bus

SPRINGFIELD — United Way of Pioneer Valley and Peter Pan Bus Lines will launch the annual Stuff the Bus campaign with a press-conference event on Friday, July 29 at 10 a.m. outside the Target store at the Holyoke Mall. The campaign will collect new school supplies from July 29 through Aug. 16. The supplies will be distributed in new backpacks to children who are homeless in Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield, Westfield, West Springfield, and South Hadley.

“Many children in our community facing homelessness don’t have the tools needed to excel in school. We want to make sure that these students begin the school prepared,” said Dora Robinson, president and CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley. “Thanks to the support of our community, last summer we were able to stuff a bus of school supplies for 1,500 children in our local community.”

Individuals are encouraged to donate the following age-appropriate supplies: number-2 pencils, erasers, binders, paper, crayons, highlighters, pencil boxes, pens, glue sticks, rulers, two-pocket folders, and one-subject notebooks. Donations can be brought to either the United Way of Pioneer Valley, 1441 Main St., Suite 147, Springfield, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Holyoke Mall, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; or Balise Kia, 603 Riverdale St., West Springfield, Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Donors who provide six to 19 items will receive a $20.16 coupon toward main-gate admission at Six Flags New England. Those who provide 20 or more items will receive a free ticket. The campaign will conclude on Aug. 16 at Six Flags New England, where donations can be made in conjunction with National Roller Coaster Day.

“Six Flags New England is honored to help the United Way and support their annual school-supply drive as we help keep kids on track. Last year, our property collected well over 3,000 items, and our mission is to exceed that for this upcoming school year,” said Six Flags New England Communications Manager Jennifer McGrath.

Financial contributions are also welcome and will be used to purchase additional backpacks and supplies as needed. Contributions may be made online by clicking the ‘donate’ button at www.uwpv.org.

Amica Insurance provided financial support for the project. Other sponsors include Peter Pan Bus Lines, Six Flags New England, Holyoke Mall, Comcast, Western Mass News, Harry Grodsky & Co. Inc., Excel Dryer, UTC Aerospace Systems, and IAMAW Local 743. For more information, visit the Stuff the Bus page at www.uwpv.org or www.peterpanbus.com, or call United Way of Pioneer Valley at (413) 737-2691.

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