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Help ‘Stuff the Bus’ for Reach Out Lakota Oct. 10-21

The Lakota Board of Education’s 15th annual district-wide food drive for Reach Out Lakota will run Oct. 10 through Oct. 21, leading right up to National Make a Difference Day on Oct. 22. In true “WE are Lakota” fashion, the district is challenging families, staff and community members to “stuff the bus” with canned goods and other non-perishable items most needed by the primary relief organization for families in West Chester and Liberty townships. 

“Reach Out Lakota is the difference maker when it comes to many of our own Lakota students and their families making ends meet,” said Lakota Board President Lynda O’Connor. “We are happy to play some part in the important and life-changing work that Reach Out Lakota does every single day.” 

The district-wide food drive is Reach Out Lakota’s largest collection and comes during the pantry’s busiest month of the year. In 2021, the organization gave out over 230,000 meals to nearly 10,000 individuals. That’s the equivalent of almost 277,000 pounds of food valued at over $350,000. 

The need in 2022 is even greater. Through August this year, Reach Out Lakota’s pantry visits are 32% higher than the same time period last year. Furthermore, the organization has already served nearly 1,500 more households this year than it had through August last year. 

“We didn’t know that the pandemic would have the lasting financial impact on our families that it has,” said Scott Stephens, CEO and executive director for Reach Out Lakota. “We continue to have families come through our doors who have never had to seek our help in the past, so we’ve depleted our normal stock of food items significantly.” 

"Reach Out Lakota is so fortunate to have the support of our schools. The generosity of students, parents and staff is the reason we are able to provide food and clothing to those who find themselves in a tough situation.”

The drive is open to the entire community. Donation bins are available at every Lakota building for the duration of the drive. Click here to view this year’s “Stuff the Bus” food drive flyer, including a list of items most needed by Reach Out Lakota.

“This tradition has been and always will be a central rallying point for the entire ‘WE are Lakota’ community to make a difference for our neighbors in need,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “It is always our goal to top the previous year’s total and come through for Reach Out Lakota.” 

Despite the centralized mission, the district is issuing a friendly district-wide competition to help encourage participation. Lakota will celebrate the school with the most donated items at the conclusion of the drive.

Since introducing the “Stuff the Bus” theme, the drive has seen a steady year-over-year increase. Last year, the Lakota community contributed nearly 19,000 items, all together weighing in at 15,500 pounds. 

  • philanthropy
  • School Board