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Bossier Chamber, local businesses give help to Bossier Parish students

Courtesy Photo: The Bossier Chamber of Commerce held “Pack the Bus” last month.

Last week, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, and two local businesses made donations to Bossier Parish students, leading up to the 2020-21 school year.

Chamber ‘Pack the Bus’ 

Bossier Chamber of Commerce held their second Pack the Bus event to collect school supplies for Bossier Parish Schools. 

Partnering with the Bossier Parish School System and Advocate Advertising Group, the event was held last week in the chamber parking lot at 710 Benton Road in Bossier City.

The chamber encouraged business members to collect school supplies from their establishments and bring them to help pack the Bossier schools’ bus that was on site at the chamber.

“We know that now, more than ever, many within our community are facing hard times from the COVID-19 pandemic. What better way to come together as a community than to do everything we possibly can, including small things like gathering school supplies, to help our children succeed as they go back to school for the 2020-21 school year,” said Bossier Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Lisa Johnson. 

Items that are needed for the school year include:

  • Spiral notebooks
  • Composition notebooks
  • Graph paper
  • Manilla folders
  • Kleenex/paper towels
  • Glue sticks/bottled glue
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Blue/black ink pens
  • Red ink pens
  • Colored pencils
  • Washable markers
  • Crayons
  • Plastic pencil box or pouch
  • Cap erasers
  • Pink erasers
  • Kids safety scissors
  • Index cards (3×5 and 4×6)
  • Backpacks

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce Pack the Bus event is especially important for students this year because the annual United Way “Fill the Bus” event will not traditionally be taking place on Walmart’s property like it typically does around this time every year.

Instead, the United Way “Fill the Bus” event will take place online.

Recently, Walmart has announced that all of its’ “Fill the Bus” opportunities will be moved online due to Covid-19 safety concerns. United Ways with Walmart in their service area must now conduct “Fill The Bus” programs via Walmart’s “Registry for Good” web site.

“We have designed and launched a dedicated webpage, www.unitedwaynwla.org/fillthebus. The webpage is live now, and will remain open through August 31. This page has two components: First, for companies that would like to host a school supply drive at their work site/work place.  Participating companies can designate to a specific school system of their choosing.  We are asking these companies to pre-register with us to help organize the drives,” said Harper McKnight, United Way of Northwest Louisiana Community Engagement and Creative Coordinator.

“Second, for individuals, companies and/or organizations to purchase the supplies online, this option allows for the donor(s) to designate supplies to specific parishes that have agreed to be part of the online supply drive.  This list will change as schools systems come aboard,” she added. 

United Way’s school supply drives help approximately 5,000 students across our service area.  Under their entire School Supply Drive Initiatives, they partner with Caddo Transformation Zones Schools, Bossier Parish Schools, Sabine Parish Schools, and Red River Back to School Bash. 

“It is important that children who are in need of school supplies can get them. Access to the supplies most necessary for learning is essential for students learning from home, in the classroom, or a combination of both. The children of families we primarily serve will most likely depend on the schools opening in order to continue to work amidst the pandemic. And due to COVID-19, there has been a significant drop in school supply drives, making our drive critical now more than ever,” said McKnight.

Uniform voucher donation

Last week,local businesses Dollar Mania and Furniture Express presented uniform vouchers to Bossier Parish school principals.

100 students from five Bossier Parish schools will start the new school year with new uniforms.

Dollar Mania and Furniture Express teamed up last week and presented uniform vouchers to five Bossier Parish school principals. 

“This is one of the most exciting times for us. Back to school as a business, as a father and as an opportunity to give back to the community. Here being a local business I think that it is very important. Especially at a time like this. We’ve never seen anything like this. I know a lot of families that are struggling and they will struggle even more to get the supplies for their kids to go back to school. I think it’s very important for kids to start the school year with fresh clothes. I think it helps them perform better. That’s why it’s very important to step up and help out during back to school. We plan to make this an annual thing,” said Abdul Alqam, one of the owners at Furniture Express.

Principals from Elm Grove Elementary, R.V. Kerr Elementary, Meadowview Elementary, Plain Dealing High and Waller Elementary will each choose 20 students who would benefit most to receive two sets of uniforms as well as hand sanitizer and a face mask. 

“It’s so outstanding that the community is trying to really help our kids and our parents. We know this is a very difficult situation. Something we have never been through before. It’s going to be really nice to go home and tell people we have help for them,”said Sandriana Isebaert, Plain Dealing High principal.

In addition any Bossier Parish School Board employee who presents their work ID at Dollar Mania will receive three free KN95 face masks. 

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