The laughter of children was heard outside the community center at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church as some ran around while others were hand-in-hand with their parents.
They were among hundreds of families that received a handful of supplies from the 30th Annual Pack the Bus to help them start off the new school year.
“These people are wonderful people. They really are trying to do their best for their children,” Pack the Bus chairman Suzanne Campa said. “This is something where they can go to school and be excited about having school supplies and not feel like they’re not as good as anybody else. I think that just gets them headed off to a good start, hopefully, to stay in school and to graduate and become productive citizens.”
As many as 2,000 bags filled with journals, crayons, pencils and other supplies went out to students within the Navarro and Seguin ISDs between Saturday’s event and some that were picked up prior, Campa said.
Equipping students with the tools to start off the new year right, helps in the long run, said Pack the Bus Co-Chairman Charlene Willfong, who is also a Navarro ISD first-grade teacher.
“When kids are prepared for school, they’re happy, they sit in their seat, they’re ready to go. There’s no concern in their heads about I don’t have when I’m supposed to have,” she said. “They feel confident and ready to learn. And that’s what we want for all of them. Children who are ready to learn, learn more, do better in life, and of course, return to their communities and help grow your communities.”
For 30 years, Campa, who is a member of the Sunrise Lions Club, has given local families a helping hand for the new school year along with several other area Lions Clubs and volunteers from Navarro and Seguin.
Seguin ISD cheerleaders, Seguin Student Council, ROTC and a team of volunteers from Navarro collected money within the community to help purchase supplies while Navarro Cross Country, Navarro Honor Society, Navarro Junior High cheerleaders, Navarro Junior and High School volleyball teams and the girl scout troop from Navarro Elementary helped stuff supply bags on Friday.
About $3,700 was collected before the big day, Campa said.
“It’s just been wonderful, though, I have to say that this year I have had so much help from the kids from Navarro and the Seguin ISD,” she said. “They’re the ones that really pulled this off. We miss Mr. Lee, who is from the Seguin Interact class. He was always a big backer for Pack the Bus.”
During Pack the Bus, families also had the opportunity to collect some information from area organizations from the Guadalupe County Inter-Agency, including Guadalupe Valley Habitat for Humanity, D.A.R.E and Texas Agri-Life.
“These are all the social service agencies involved with the county that helped the low income, the elderly, disabled,” Campa said. “They all are wonderful people and so committed to their philosophies. So we decided to combine the Inter-Agency Health Fair with Pack the Bus because these are the very people that are here to help.”
For those who couldn’t attend Saturday’s event, some may have the opportunity to grab some supplies on the first day of school, Campa said.
“The districts comes to pick up whatever is leftover and some go to Navarro and the rest go to Seguin ISD,” she said. “I’d say to go to their counselors on the first day of school because there will be a limit with the bags. Usually, they’re gone by the third or fourth day.”