By Lillian Bowe
Robert Graham came to Wal-Mart on Saturday to drop off Eastern New Mexico University’s boxes of school supplies they collected for United Way of Eastern New Mexico’s Stuff the Bus campaign.
Graham, coordinator of Alumni Affairs at ENMU, saw United Way needed help so he volunteered on the spot.
“I have volunteered before and I saw they needed help, so I stayed,” Graham said.
Stuff the Bus is an annual one-day event hosted by United Way of Eastern New Mexico’s staff and volunteers who collect school supplies to be distributed to Portales and Clovis schools.
Graham waited outside of Wal-Mart and handed out flyers to people who went into Wal-Mart.
Erinn Burch, director of United Way, said they did not have as many volunteers as they hoped for, but they were filling boxes full of school supplies despite this.
“(Saturday) morning, we have already filled up some boxes, so we are doing pretty good,” Burch said.
Some of the supplies they collected were backpacks, crayons, binders, paper and pens.
Burch estimated they have collected more supplies than last year, but they will not know the total until they return to the United Way office.
Lydia Wolf, a sixth-grader from Clovis, also came out to help by organizing and counting the supplies donated.
Wolf’s mother works at United Way and had her come and volunteer. Wolf said she wants to volunteer next year.
Eva Lopez, Portales resident, did her shopping at Wal-Mart, but topped at the Stuff the Bus booth and donated erasers, pens and paper.
“I just wanted to help the kids and help our community,” Lopez said.
Once the donated school supplies are gathered together, the supplies go to the central office of the schools in Clovis and Portales and are then distributed to local schools. The supplies are given to teachers to who keep them in their classroom for students who need them.
Amanda Mayberry, a sixth-grade science teacher at Lindsey-Steiner Elementary, said the supplies go directly to the students.
“Most of it is given back to the kids,” Mayberry said.
Even though Mayberry has two children, on Saturday she was buying school supplies for Stuff the Bus.
Mayberry said she knows that many of her students will be using the supplies she is donating.
— Staff writer Anna George contributed to this report.