Jackson County United Way is issuing a call to action for businesses, organizations and individuals in an effort to raise $6,500 this spring to buy school supplies for students in need.

If the amount can be raised by April 24, it will be matched by Cummins Foundation for a total of $13,000 for the annual Rock’n Ready School Supply Drive to take place on Aug. 1.

Through the drive and distribution, United Way provides needed school supplies, such as backpacks, notebooks, folders, pencils and crayons, free to children of low-income families in the county. Leftover items are split among area schools to be given to students throughout the school year as needed.

“This bold goal will help us secure funding earlier, and we can maximize the impact through the bulk purchase of supplies,” said Bonita Dobbs, United Way program manager and drive chair for this year’s event.

United Way already has received an anonymous donation of $2,000 to get the #SpringN2Action fundraising started and is looking to the community for support.

“If you can make a small donation, it will make a huge impact,” Dobbs said.

Last year, Rock’n Ready served nearly 650 children in the county.

The event is aided by the annual Stuff the Bus collection, which takes place at the Seymour Walmart in the summer. That weeklong drive resulted in cash and school supply donations totaling around $13,000.

In all, Rock’n Ready received close to $18,000 in cash and school supply donations last year.

“The community is so generous in its support,” Dobbs said.

The 2015 Stuff the Bus collection will take place July 17-23.

Families may begin registering to receive free school supplies through Rock’n Ready on May 1 by calling United Way’s 2-1-1 resource hotline. Families must register to participate.

Although students will be able to get many of the supplies they need through Rock’n Ready, there likely still will be items on classroom back-to-school lists that won’t be available through the program.

It’s the intent of Rock’n Ready, which is in its third year, to ensure all students in the county have the school supplies they need on the first day of school and are ready to learn, Dobbs said.

“We don’t provide all supplies that are needed,” she said. “But we work with the schools to make sure we have the basic supplies they will need.”

At a glance

Donations may be made at the United Way office at the Community Agency Building in downtown Seymour, or sent to Box 94, Seymour, IN 47274.

Checks should include “Rock’n Ready” in the memo line.

For information on how you can be a part of the Rock’n Ready initiative, contact Bonita Dobbs at 812-522-5450 or bonita@jacsy.org. Organizers also are trying to spread the word on social media including Facebook and Twitter by using the #SpringN2Action tagline.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.