JENSEN BEACH, Fla. - Remember that feeling of getting new school supplies? How it felt to whip out a new notebook and color with new crayons?
"It's kind of this intangible that we help with," said David Vaina, communications director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County ( BGCMC).
Vaina's organization is helping give 8,000 kids that amazing feeling.
On Saturday, the organization pulled out the stops for its annual "Stuff the Bus" event outside Kohl's in Jensen Beach.
The goal is to collect about 10 percent of the supplies distributed to every child on the "free and reduced lunch program" in Martin County.
Notebooks, composition books and paper are some of the most needed items, said Vaina, who stressed that the need is certainly there.
"We're hearing that people can't afford to put gas in their car," said Vaina. "We're finding thousands of people in that situation."
The organization is asking the community to donate 50,000 items. The first couple hours of today's event didn't help the numbers much; the donations were barely coming in.
"Just think about one child. It could be your child. Your cousin. Your neighbor. You just don't know how widespread this need is,” Vaina said.
The Boys & Girls Clubs' spokesman says many families in Martin County continue to struggle economically and do not have the money to buy the school supplies their children need.
Roseanna Rynca, an educator at Indiantown Middle School, says because of the downturn, "The need is even greater."
"They can't succeed in school if they don't have the tools to do it,” Vaina pointed out.
The drive doesn't end on the bus. The BGCMC is collecting school supplies until August 3 at 30 locations in the county.
That include all BGCMC branches and all Seacoast National Bank locations.
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