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With school right around the corner, many students are on the hunt for the latest school supplies.

Some supplies, however, are not always easily attainable. 

To ease the process of back to school shopping, United Way of Northern Santa Barbara has teamed up with local businesses and organizations to bring the eighth annual Stuff the Bus back to Santa Maria and Lompoc.

Starting Friday through Sunday, Stuff the Bus volunteers will collect pencils, markers, glue sticks and tape, backpacks and more in front of Wal-Mart in Santa Maria and Lompoc for redistribution throughout the Santa Maria-Bonita and Lompoc school districts. 

Once the supplies are distributed, each student will be able to use them in the classroom, as well as after school for homework.

"The big thing is that without the right supplies, it is difficult for children to participate when they get to class," said Eddie Taylor, CEO of the regional United Way in Northern Santa Barbara County. "You have a child in the classroom who doesn’t have pencils or paper, so they don’t participate."

Over the years, United Way's Stuff the Bus event has delivered between 25,000 and 30,000 supplies to local students in need. Taylor said he has witnessed the event's impact firsthand. 

"As soon as you give the student the supplies, all of the sudden the student gets everything needed to get a good start."

Volunteers still are needed for three-hour shifts all three days, and all donations are appreciated, Taylor said. 

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