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BCERA hosts Fill the Bus Campaign

Annually, back to school means a tax-free weekend for parents to stock up on new clothes and supplies. However, for the Butler County Education Retirees Association, it’s also time to challenge those same parents to help fill a school bus.

A 10-year tradition, every year members of the BCERA gather at Greenville Walmart Supercenter for its local “Fill the Bus” campaign. Hosted during the State of Alabama’s Tax Free Weekend, the BCERA parks a Butler County school bus outside the store.

Collecting school supplies and any cash donations, the BCERA works to help teachers in Butler County receive all the supplies needed for the upcoming school year.

“All the donations we get go to classroom teachers,” Wayne Boswell, president of the BCERA, said.

For three days, Friday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., former educators devote time to the effort.

“All of the donations are used for classroom teachers,” Boswell said.

In Butler County, the campaign was started after the recession in 2008. As a former educator, Boswell remembered the difficulty in obtaining school supplies on a small budget.

“We started this after the great recession in 2008, the legislature cut the money for classroom supplies,” he said. “It is a small amount of money, but when teachers come back and school starts most of them have spent all the instructional supply money they have and they don’t have much to start with.”

After the weekend, the BCERA hopes to reach all Butler County teachers with a bag of supplies.

“We started this then to help fill in the gap and we hope we can continue the effort,” Boswell concluded.