PACE — United Way of West Florida has taken the lead this year for the Stuff the Bus school supply drive before the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

The goal this year is to collect enough school supplies for 3,000 Santa Rosa County school students, said Dr. Karen Barber, director of federal programs for Santa Rosa County School District.

"No donation is too small or too big," Barber said while at the Santa Rosa County Stuff the Bus event held at the Pace Walmart. Other Stuff the Bus locations in the county were at the Tiger Point and Navarre Walmarts.

If you missed giving this week, monetary or supply donations can still be made at www.unitedwayescambia.org/STB.

In 2018, the United Way collected $62,189 in supplies and $22,800 in monetary gifts in Escambia County. In addition, 251 volunteers served for 657 hours valued at $16,221.

Ryan Funderburk, a mortgage lender from Regions Bank and coordinator of the Santa Rosa County Stuff the Bus event, said the combined donations (supplies and cash) needed for both counties are about $150,000 to supply the needs of these students.

"We have collected about $5,000 in cash donations," Funderburk said.

There are still sponsorships available on the website. Another option for donors is giving $50. That amount can purchase a backpack with all the needed supplies to start the school year for one student.

"The Stuff the Bus drive needs volunteers to put the backpack and supplies together for the schools," Barber said.

The volunteers will sort supplies from July 29 through Aug. 3. For more details, go to www.unitedwayescambia.org/STB.

In addition to the United Way of West Florida other sponsors this year were the Santa Rosa County School District, the School District of Escambia County, WEAR TV Channel 3, Cat Country 98.7 News radio 92.3/AM1620, Gulf Power, Navy Federal Credit Union, Kiwanis Big Lagoon-Pensacola, International Paper, Pensacola News Journal, Levin Rinke Realty, the chambers of Santa Rosa County, the Navarre Press, and the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.