Back to school shopping.

It's not just for parents.

Or it doesn't have to be.

The annual "Stuff the Bus" campaign promotes support for students in Wayne County Public Schools, with this year's event planned for Friday, Aug. 4, in the News-Argus parking lot on Berkeley Boulevard from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

It is a signature fundraiser by Communities Supporting Schools in Wayne County, formerly known as Communities in Schools of Wayne County, says Selena Bennett, executive director.

"It's our kick-off for the season," she said.

The school supply drive has been around since about 2000, launched with several drop-off points around town for donations. It segued into a one-stop location at the newspaper about five years ago.

"Last year, we received in supplies and donations, $23,000 worth of school supplies," she said.

Her goal this year, beyond a dollar amount, is to raise awareness and extend the giving throughout the year.

"I think it's important to know that supplies go to all schools in the county," she said. "This is for all public schools in Wayne County Public Schools.

"It's just so important that we get all the materials that we can and by having this on Aug. 4, that allows me to get everything packaged and out to the schools before the school year begins."

The effort does not stop that day, though, she pointed out.

"If anybody is interested in doing any kind of school supplies drive and they don't have time right now, we can take supplies at any point in time because we give out, we run out, we need more," she said.

School supplies are needed as long as school is in session, Bennett explained.

She works closely with counselors and school social workers to determine the needs.

When the supplies come in, they are divided equitably according to where they are needed most -- by age and school.

Whatever monetary donations come in, she added, is used to fill in with other items students can use.

"We always need composition books and notebook paper," she said. "What most don't think of are those thumb drives, which can be really expensive.

"And backpacks -- we always need them, and they don't have to fill the backpacks."

One thing about backpacks, though, is to remember that come in all sizes.

"Our young kids, they cannot physically manage the big backpacks, so there's always the need for the small backpacks for like kindergarten through second grade," she said. "We wind up every year going out and purchasing the ones that they can use."

Don't forget the students in the upper grades.

In addition to technology supplies like thumb drives, older students always need things like the three-subject and five-subject composition books, pocket folders and of course, colored pencils, crayons and other markers and writing utensils.

Contact Communities Supporting Schools at 919-735-1432 to find out more about how to drop them off or have large quantities of items picked up.