MONROE, N.C. — The transportation department staff at Union County Public Schools (UCPS) took steps last month to help earthquake victims in Haiti by filling a school bus with supplies and having it sent overseas.
The “stuff the bus” effort, which coincided with the American School Bus Council’s Love the Bus campaign, was spearheaded by UCPS Transportation Director Adam Johnson.
“This year, I wanted to do something a little different and use Love the Bus to think about the many people in Haiti who have lost family, friends and most of their belongings in the devastating earthquake,” Johnson said. “I guess this is our way of ‘sending the love’ on a global level to those less fortunate.”
For an entire week, one of the operation’s school buses was driven from school to school, gathering donated items, which included rice, corn meal, beans, spaghetti, cooking oil, salt, sugar, toiletry items, towels, linens, shoes and clothes.
“We also have medical supplies like walkers, canes and crutches,” Johnson said.
The bus was scheduled to depart for West Palm Beach, Fla., on Feb. 24 and then be shipped to Guanives, Haiti. Johnson anticipated that the bus would arrive in Haiti the first or second week of this month.
“The items will be distributed by a mission group there, and then the bus will be used to transport teachers to and from different schools in Haiti,” he said.
Johnson said the relief effort involved all of the approximately 430 employees in the district’s transportation department.
He also received support from the community. A friend of Johnson’s donated the $1,500 needed to purchase a school bus that UCPS had for sale to transport the items, and members of a local church offered to drive the bus to Florida and pay the $3,000 shipping cost to send it to Haiti.