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11 Cares Pack the Bus raises nearly $40,000 worth of school supplies

PITTSBURGH — “The need in Southwestern PA is enormous, and I’m not sure everyone recognizes that,” said Education Partnership Executive Director Josh Whiteside.

To help fulfill that need, 11 Cares and our partners hosted our annual 11 Cares Pack the Bus event on Saturday August 26, 2023 at five Pittsburgh Staples locations. With your help, we collected nearly $40,000 worth of school supplies.

“We’ve already seen about 200 teachers so they could start their school year,” said Whiteside. “Those supplies are already back out in the community and because of that those kids in the classrooms are ready to go.”

Josh Whiteside is the Executive Director of the Education Partnership. He says 191 schools, throughout eight counties, are currently enrolled in the program. That equates to about 69,000 students and 10,000 teachers. To qualify, at least 70 percent of a schools’ students must qualify for the National School Lunch Program.

“Just to say that there’s 191 schools, where at least 70% of the students, the families are in need, I think is eye opening for a lot of people,” said Whiteside.

Whiteside says the average enrollment in the NSLP program is around 96 percent in the 191 schools that the Education Partnership currently serves.

What else is eye opening is the generosity of the community. Because of all the donations, each teacher is able to leave with between $750-$1,000 worth of supplies for their classroom.

“All year long, teachers are coming through this building,” said Whiteside. “And just so you know the gratitude that comes from them is enormous. It’s enormous.”

The Education Partnership is doing online orders now. Teachers can go online and pick out what supplies they need, or they can quickly just select the max. Boxes are then packed with more than $200 worth of pencils, crayons, folders, markers, paper and more.

The Education Partnership accepts donations all year long. You can drop off donations Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. You can find them at 281 Corliss Street in Pittsburgh’s West End.

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