By Stephen Lamar
On a hot summer day with customers flocking in to buy various goods, the bright yellow school bus outside was waiting to be filled with supplies.
Volunteers from several groups in Ardmore withstood the heat for the “Stuff the Bus” event Saturday, which helps provide school supplies to area students in need. The event is the midway point for the Stuff the Backpack Drive put on by the Ardmore Young Professionals. Volunteers stood in the wings of Walmart’s entrance and outside beside an Ardmore City Schools bus to hand out fliers, collect supplies from those who chose to donate and offered smiles and thanks to all those who entered the super center.
With the drive entering its third week, Ardmore Young Professionals president Andrea Anderson said the event usually serves as a kickstart to supplies coming in, especially with the “back to school” sales and specials in full-swing. Anderson also said the bus sitting in front of Walmart, along with volunteers handing out fliers, puts the thought of donating in peoples’ minds and can lead to more donations. The convenience of being able to drop the supplies off right after purchasing them also helps.
“It’s amazing,” said Walmart customer Scotta McFarland, who donated several supplies to the drive. “I didn’t initially buy something, but once I saw it was here when I was coming out of the store I went back in and got some things to help out.”
Volunteers from the Ardmore Young Professionals, the Concerned Citizens Group, Partners In Education (PIE) and other groups from the area helped hand out fliers and greet guests with a smile and the idea of donating supplies for children in need. Several children also helped hand out fliers, seizing the opportunity to help children their age in need.
“It’s to help the kids,” said Katelyn Paape with a smile, one of the younger volunteers at the event.
The event, which started at 9 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m., brought in over 4 carts of supplies from Walmart shoppers. The volunteers then loaded all the supplies into a vehicle and took them to be stored until backpack stuffing day, which will be Aug. 6 at Toyota of Ardmore. The backpacks will then be distributed at The Grace Center on Aug. 10.
The drive set a goal of filling 1,000 backpacks this year, hoping to provide school supplies to even more children than in previous years. Individuals who would like to donate supplies are encouraged to leave the supplies at one of the drive’s drop off locations, at the United Way headquarters or at the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce.
By Michael Pineda
The Daily Ardmoreite
The Ardmore Young Professionals have begun preparing for a landmark year with the election of officers to lead the organization in 2016.
Andrea Anderson has been elected president for a second consecutive year; Dr. Bonnie Rigney will serve as vice president. BreAnna Watterson will serve as secretary and Sarah Larkin will be the treasurer. Eric Holquin, Jennifer Crosby, Ethan Bateman and Bregan Heitz round out the board.
“I am excited because the new board members have been coming to events,” Anderson said.
“I believe if you are an active member, you will be an active board member and we really need that. Those of us who have been on the board a while can use some fresh ways.”
The AYP also is in the process of developing leadership for its crews. The service crew is a work in development.
Dr. Lyndsi Cain-Baxter will chair the social crew with Larkin serving as co-chair. Maia Day will serve as the membership crew chair with Lindsey Salyer designated as co-chair. Roxey Lovelace and Camille Batemen will serve as chair and co-chair, respectively, on the special events crew.
Next year will be the organization’s 10th.
“We are losing some board members that have been on for several years,” Anderson said. “They have put in a lot of hours, and we appreciate their amazing contributions to the growth of this organization.”
The Ardmore Young Professionals have named their new board for the upcoming year that will be tasked with developing further growth for the organization.
Andrea Andreson will serve as president, taking the place of Eric Holquin who served in the role this past year. He will step into the past president position.
Benton Ray will be the vice president and Bonnie Rigney will be secretary. Jennifer Crosby will once again serve as the secretary for the organization. Other board members include:
- Social Crew Chair Natalie Cockran
- Social Crew Co-Chair Sarah Veazey
- Special Events Crew Chair Roxey Lovelace
- Special Events Crew Co-Chair Jennifer Crosby
- Service Crew Chair Andrea Anderson
- Service Crew Co-Chairs Juan Lopez and Bonnie Rigney
- Membership Crew Chair Amy Wisian
- Membership Crew Co-Chair Lara Coble
- Additonal board members Allen Bynum and Maia Day