The Webster Parish School Board will be sponsoring its annual Pack the Bus this weekend.

Beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, volunteers will be in the Walmart parking lot on a school bus taking in school supplies so all Webster Parish students will be prepared for school this August.

“We’ll be accepting financial donations and supplies for whatever children need for school,” said Ursula Hullaby, drug prevention and safety coordinator for Webster Parish Schools. “We will literally pack the bus for pre-K-12 grade.”

The event will go through 8 p.m., Friday, and will be there Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon.

Hullaby said school supply lists will be available at the bus for shoppers who wish to purchase something on the list and return to the bus with those supplies.

The biggest needs this year will be the kinder sleep mats for kindergarten and pre-K students. Hullaby said they are hoping to collect 250 mats this year. Supplies also in the greatest demand are pens (blue, black and red ink), pencils, loose-leaf paper, highlighters, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, spiral notebooks, composition notebooks and sidewalk chalk.

“The sleep mats are the most expensive thing on the list, and we really try to help out in that area,” she said. “The list will be there for them, and shoppers are not limited to that list, but it will be a guide for them while they’re shopping.”

The Pack the Bus event is in conjunction with the Back to School Bash set for Monday, Aug. 7, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Minden Civic Center. Hullaby said they hope to have all supplies for at least 1,800 children this year. Last year, they were able to provide school supplies for more than 1,500 students.

Sponsors are a big part of the reason so many students are prepared to start school, Hullaby said, and they have sponsors that have donated monetarily and provided supplies all nine years of the event, and for others, this is their first time getting involved.

“We have sponsors that will donate by collecting supplies for a month and bring those supplies to the bus,” she said, “and donations are still coming in. We’ve had some very generous donors in the community.”

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