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OVERSTUFFED | One bus not enough to contain West Michigan's generosity

The Heart of West Michigan United Way's Stuff the Bus campaign wrapped up Wednesday and we needed some extra help hauling all the donated school supplies.

WALKER, Mich. — Going back to school just got a whole lot easier for thousands of West Michigan students, thanks to the generosity of the community.

The Heart of West Michigan United Way challenged our viewers to "Stuff The Bus" in the parking lot outside our studio. But for our community, it wasn't enough just to stuff the bus. We had to call in a U-Haul truck to transport school supplies that wouldn't fit on that bus.

"This is just really exciting to see bus after bus and car after car come in and empty out so that we can give back to the students," said Michelle Van Dyke, who serves as the President and CEO of the Heart of West Michigan United Way.

"If you think about families that have really struggled to make ends meet, having to buy school supplies is such a burden. And so we just gather all of these donations, over 30,000 items this year, to be able to give to the students to make starting off at school a little bit easier for them."

The donations will go to around 20 schools around Kent County.

"First, they're going to go and be sorted. We have boxes and boxes and boxes of school supplies that will be sorted over the next couple of days to be able to get out to those schools," Van Dyke said.

The donations will help not only students, but their families as well.

"Almost 35% of our households in Kent County struggle to make ends meet every month, and so this little extra bit of help that they're getting to start school is so critical, because the parents can't afford in many cases to buy the backpacks and all of the school supplies that are needed," Van Dyke said.

If you'd like to help but didn't get to stuff the bus with us, you can still donate money to the Heart of West Michigan United Way so they can buy more supplies, or shop their Amazon Wish List.

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