It’s hard to believe it’s already time to prepare for school again, but CACTUS volunteers will be collecting school supplies this weekend for students in need.
CACTUS — Community and Children Teaming Up 4 Success — is a local nonprofit that helps with providing school supplies each fall to Pettis County students. On Saturday, CACTUS volunteers will be at Walmart in Sedalia from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the annual Stuff the Bus event.
“We’ll be collecting school supplies donations and also monetary donations if they rather we do the shopping, and signing up students to receive school supplies,” said CACTUS Coordinator Mary Jo Sartin. “The things we need the most this year would be pocket folders, three-ring binders, notebook paper, we always need dry-erase markers, and scissors. We’ll take anything, but that’s what we’ll be needing the most.”
Parents or guardians signing up their children don’t need to bring anything with them to qualify. The only requirement to receive supplies from CACTUS is students must either attend school in Pettis County or live in Pettis County.
If parents can’t stop by Walmart this weekend, registration forms are also available through July 27 at Open Door, Missouri Valley Community Action Agency, Pettis County Health Center, Pettis County Community Partnership, or any of the rural county school offices. Parents can also sign up online at sedaliacactus.org through July 30.
Last year, CACTUS provided school supplies to 1,855 students. Because the organization is growing, supply packing and distribution has moved to the FEMA Building at Smith-Cotton Junior High. Since there will now be more space, Sartin said they are inviting more agencies to set up tables during distribution Aug. 4-5 to talk with families picking up their supplies.
“There’s a lot of need in Pettis County,” Sartin said. “Every school in the county has over 50 percent free-and-reduced lunches, so that shows a great need in the county and back-to-school time is really a hard time for many families because they need school supplies, backpacks, new clothes or shoes, haircuts. There are so many expenses in getting kids back to school. We can help with the school supplies and when they sign up, they’ll also receive a clothing voucher from Open Door.”
Sartin said CACTUS still needs volunteers for packing and distribution. Since it will be condensed into two days instead of three and a half, more volunteers are needed this year. New this year, volunteers can select a time slot on sedaliacactus.org.
For more information, visit sedaliacactus.org or call 660-827-0263.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.