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Time again to stuff the bus
United Way prepping for annual campaign
stuff the bus

It’s that time of year again to Stuff the Bus for United Way of Central Kansas, marking  the ninth year for the annual campaign to help the 23 agencies served by UWCK in Barton and Pawnee counties. It is set this year for Wednesday, July 31, in Great Bend, Ellinwood, Hoisington and Larned.

Last year, nearly 1,000 items were donated to Stuff the Bus with events, said UWCK Executive Director Gaila Demel. These items included school supplies to stock backpacks for students in need, items for the non-food pantry at Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas, toiletry supplies for Family Crisis Center, as well as supplies for the individual agencies to use throughout the year to help keep expenses down. 

The same type of donations are being sought this year. But, for 2020, school supplies will not only support local backpack programs, but also be distributed to the school districts to have additional supplies on hand throughout the year.

“I believe one of the most humbling features of Stuff the bus is how all of the communities in Barton and Pawnee County come together to help our agencies and those they serve,” Demel said. “It’s a combination of little things that turn out to be a really big deal”

This annual event provides much needed items for the UWCK-served agencies, she said. With a presence in Ellinwood, Hoisington, Great Bend and Larned, the campaign makes it easy for folks to pick up a few extra items to donate the next time they are at a store. 

“I would just encourage everyone to consider how easy it is to pick up a few items on our list that will keep the shelves full, help students with needed school supplies and continue supporting our community partners,” she said

They have partnered with stores across the area to make this possible. Anyone who isn’t able to make it out on the day of the event may contact UWCK to drop items off beforehand.

Items will be collected on July 31 at:

• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at both Great Bend Dillons locations and at Wal Mart. Locations will feature a USD 428 school bus to load with items and generous volunteers who will brave the heat to hand out flyers and collect the items from. 

• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Ellinwood at Family Foods and Dollar General. Both locations will feature a USD 355 school bus.

• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Hoisington at Town & Country Supermarket and Dollar General. Both locations will feature a USD 431 school bus. 

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Larned. They are partnering with the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office and Larned Volunteer Fire Department to collect items at Dollar General and at Dillons. Both locations will feature a USD 495 school bus.

This event started nine years ago in Great Bend and has expanded to the other communities in the years since. It is coordinated by Dianne Call in Great Bend, with the help of Kay Wilbur; by Tama Hanson in Larned; Becca Maxwell with the help of Nancy Baird, Cindy Vink and Cari Ringwald in Ellinwood; and Jan Morgenstern and Toni Schneweis in Hoisington. 

For more information, follow United Way of Central Kansas on Facebook, check out our website,, or call at 620-792-2403.

Here are the items United Way Of Central Kansas is looking for during the 2018 Stuff The Bus campaign.

Food pantry items:

• Green beans

• Whole corn 

• Creamed corn 

• Peas

• Pork and beans

• Tomatoes

• Tomato sauce

• Mac and cheese

• Pinto beans

• Navy beans 

• Noodles

• Macaroni

• Spaghetti

• Rice

• Fruit cocktail 

• Peaches

• Pears

• Pineapple

• Mandarin oranges

• Peanut butter

• Jelly

• Dry cereal

• Chicken noodle soup

• Tomato soup

• Vegetable soup

• Gelatin desserts

• Pudding

• Oil

• Flour

• Sugar

• Soda crackers

• Potato flakes

• Tuna

• Laundry detergent

• Toilet paper  

• Toiletry items

Agency wish list:

• Copy paper

• Protractor/compass

• Notebooks 

• Markers

• Paper towels

• Sponges 

• Facial tissue

Disinfectant wipes

• Toothbrushes

• Blankets

• Non-perishable snacks

• Bottled water

• Diapers/wipes

• Paper/plastic ware

• Trash bags

• Crayons

• Highlighters 

• Pocket folders 

• Batteries (AA/AAA) 

• Rulers

• Painting supplies 

• Stuffed animals

• Backpacks

• Glue stick/bottle

• Colored pencils

• Erasers

• Toilet paper

• Laundry soap

• Dish soap

• Sanitizer

• Adult diapers

• Travel toiletries

• Non-perishable food

• Feminine products

• Brushes/combs

• Cleaning supplies