West Virginia Central Federal Credit Union Stuffs the Bus

For the tenth consecutive year, West Virginia Central Federal Credit Union (WVCCU) is assisting educators in purchasing supplies as they prepare to return to their classrooms for the 2021-2022 school year.

“We started the program in 2011,” said Michael Tucker, WVCCU President and CEO. “We took it over from Old Man Rivers Mission, which founded the program and ran it for years.”

Approximately 670 teachers in a six-county region, including Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Wirt, and Wood in West Virginia, and Washington in Ohio, received $30 checks, up from $25 last year. In previous years, teachers received bags filled with traditional school supplies, but according to Allie Creech, former marketing strategist with WVCCU, during the pandemic, checks eliminated supply-chain concerns as well as unnecessary exposure for teachers who would be required to visit WVCCU offices to collect their supplies.

WVCCU was able to donate $18,750 to participating teachers, thanks in part to the program’s corporate sponsors: Commonwealth Financial, DuPont, Jeff Burrell Appraisals, Old Man Rivers, and Trademark Solutions. Creech said many individuals also donated via teller lines by asking that funds be transferred to the Stuff the Bus campaign.

Checks for the 2020-2021 school year were accompanied by tie-dyed cotton facemasks, while this year’s checks arrived with stickers that read, “I survived pandemic teaching 2020-2021.”

The money really does help to provide everyday classroom supplies.

“My husband, Rusty, and I both teach, and we both have benefitted from Stuff the Bus for several years,” said Lora Miller, librarian and health teacher at Edison Middle School. “The money really does help to provide everyday classroom supplies. That way, our faculty senate money can be dedicated to larger items also used to facilitate our students’ learning.”

Jessica Sandy, a teacher at Neale Elementary School in Vienna, said the community support is encouraging. “It is so nice to know many in our area are behind our teachers and in turn our students. Their willingness to give a donation and to trust the educators to know how to use that money to serve students is uplifting.”

“In the past, bags of supplies were very helpful,” Sandy said. “Now, the checks allow for even more flexibility to provide each individual classroom with what is needed most.”

“We like to operate under the philosophy of people helping people,” Tucker said. “WV Central loves to support efforts that benefit our community and especially ones that are supportive of our young people. When we took the effort over, it was our desire to help reduce the burden on our local teachers who were spending their own money to purchase needed items.

“We also hoped it would provide needed items for our students. We believe that we have been able to make a real difference over the last 10 years and are extremely proud of the support from our members, officials, staff and other local businesses.”