United Way of Greater Kingsport and Target announce their first “Stuff the Bus” project, which occurs July 29th through Aug. 4 at Target located at 2626 E Stone Drive in Kingsport. During this week, Target customers will have the opportunity to buy new school supplies and hygiene products for local children and place them in bins located within the store. The decorative bins came from a collaborative art project between the UWGK, the Kingsport Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., and the Girls Scouts. On Aug. 5 between 9:30 – 10 a.m., Target employees will “stuff the bus” with the donated school and hygiene supplies. The supplies will be given to students in Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools to better prepare them for the upcoming school year and help steer them on a path that leads to high school graduation. Both the UWGK and Target have identified education as a key contributor to improving the lives of those living in our community and nation. The UWGK is committed to helping children and youth succeed through its support of UWGK member agencies, such as Kingsport Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Kingsport Child Development Center, Small Miracles, and Holston Children and Youth. Dedicated to improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community to effectively address health and human service needs, the UWGK has selected early grade literacy as its key community impact strategy. The organization has formed a collaborative partnership with the two local school systems, non-profits and organizations that provide after school and summer care to children, community groups, companies both large and small, and higher education institutions to achieve a community vision to have all children in Greater Kingsport reading at a 3rd grade level by 2018 as evidenced by the TCAP Reading/Language Arts scores. Education is at the heart of Target’s giving. Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015. A significant portion of this giving will go toward helping more U.S. children reach one of the most critical milestones on the path to graduation: reading proficiently by the end of third grade. Target also contributes to early grade literacy through its Take Charge of Education Program, which empowers Target guests to direct a portion of Target’s giving directly to an eligible local K-12 school of their choice. The fund raising initiative provides undesignated funds to a local school for whatever they need most, from books and school supplies to classroom technology. Since the program’s inception in 1997, Target has donated more than $324 million to K-12 schools nationwide. Through TCOE, families, teachers, and community members can designate an eligible K-12 school of their choice and have Target donate an amount equal to 1 percent of their REDcard purchase made at Target and Target.com. Volunteerism is an integral component of Target’s commitment to communities. In 2011 alone, Target team members donated more than 475,000 volunteer hours to community projects across the country. The UWGK and Target are urging members of our community to help make “Stuff the Bus” a reality by donating school and hygiene supplies. Supplies can be dropped off at Target’s Kingsport location, 2626 E Stone Dr. and at United Way of Greater Kingsport located at 301 Louis St., Suite 2 in the V.O. Dobbins Community Complex July 29 – Aug. 4. For more information contact Kandy Childress at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 423-378-3409 or Jennifer Lyster at 423-578-1726.