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BATESVILLE – July 17, 2014 – United Way of Independence County has expanded its annual effort to collect school supplies and other basic items to ensure that every child in Independence County and Cave City is properly equipped to succeed in school.

United Way and Citizens Bank last year launched “Stuff the Bus” to collect school supplies.  This year, the Wood Family of Dealerships has joined the campaign with “Best Foot Forward,” which seeks the donation of new athletic shoes for children who need them.

During the remainder of July and through Aug. 6, school supplies and athletic shoes will be collected at both Wood dealerships; at Citizens Bank locations in Batesville, Cave City and Pleasant Plains; and at Anytime Fitness and Maurice's in Batesville.  Cash donations also will be accepted at all collection points.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2, school buses will be stationed at Walmart, 3150 Harrison St., and also at the Stanley Wood Dealership, 1674 Batesville Blvd., to collect school supplies and shoes.  That date also coincides with the annual Arkansas sales tax holiday, which means the money used for contributions will go even further.

Deanna Green, Executive Director of the United Way of Independence County, said the school supplies and shoes will be distributed to children based on need at schools in five school districts – Batesville, Cave City, Cedar Ridge, Midland and Southside – with a goal of providing the supplies to the students before school starts.

Additionally, Green said, the John Herman Hickman Foundation of Peco Foods has pledged $500 for “Best Foot Forward” and issued a matching challenge for another $500, and the Batesville Rotary Club is donating $1,000 toward “Best Foot Forward.”

“The Wood Family is proud to donate the first 100 pairs of shoes to help kids in this area,” said Scott Wood.  “We enjoy partnering with United Way because we know our efforts go to help local people.  Every child deserves a good pair of shoes!”

“Citizens Bank was gratified by the generosity we witnessed in the inaugural ‘Stuff the Bus’ campaign last year,” said Phil Baldwin, Citizens Bank President and Chief Executive Officer.  “We are very pleased to see this program expand to serve even more children and families.”

“We hope everyone will join us in providing students with the necessary supplies that sends them to school better prepared to succeed and steer them toward the path that leads to high school graduation,” Green said.  “As Back-to-School season gets under way, we hope everyone will pick up a few extra items and help us ‘Stuff the Bus’ and put our ‘Best Foot Forward’!”

Stuff the Bus - Best Foot Forward - LOGOS ONLY - 2014

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