Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Another record-breaking year has been enjoyed so far by the volunteers from Cram the Cruiser/Stuff The Bus 2019 for Edmonson County schools at today's event, which was a huge success, according to coordinators, and even more donations are expected to continue.
Jamie Carnes, Supervisor of State and Federal Programs at Edmonson County Schools, said the annual school supply fundraiser is to allow all local students to start school "on a level playing field," with the supplies necessary to be successful.
"It's all about the kids," said Carnes. "This is so kids can know they can stop by the Family Resource Center offices and Youth Services Center Offices and find those supplies if they need them. It's an easy way for a kid to just stop by and grab a notebook, pencil, backpack--whatever they need--and go on about their day and not have to think about it too much."
Sheriff Shane Doyle said all local law enforcement agencies have had a great working relationship for many years, but this is certainly one event that brings those agencies even closer together.
"We love showing our support for our local students," he said. "This is one of the outreach programs where we can come out in a different setting and talk to our kids, their parents, and their families, and show them that we're all part of the same community. Kentucky State Police, Brownsville Police, we're all the same team and we love coming together for our local kids."
One of the event coordinators, Lisa Whobrey, Community Education Director of EC Schools, said this year's event has been overwhelming.
"If a kid is striving to do good in school but they don't have the supplies they need, then they can't do the best they can," she said. "This is to see that students have what they need to achieve their goals in our schools."
Nearly $3K in cash was raised at today's event, which was a combination of donation gathered at tents set up at Dollar General in Chalybeate, Family Dollar in Brownsville, and Ace Hardware, also in Brownsville. Several police cruisers and the Edmonson Voicemobile were packed with donated supplies. Chalybeate Food Mart owners Manish and Nisha Patel shocked volunteers when they presented a check for $1000 to help the cause.
Those that weren't able to attend today's event can still donate to the cause. Donations are accepted anytime by contacting Edmonson County Schools Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, or anyone with the Edmonson County Anti-Drug Coalition.
One dollar donation tabs are available at businesses throughout the county, 100% of which go directly to Cram The Cruiser/Stuff the Bus in Edmonson County.
"We couldn't do this without the wonderful people of Edmonson County," said Whobrey. "I can't say enough about how wonderful our community is. We just have a wonderful community and I'll put us up against anybody."