By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES – Every year, Block The Bus is organized by Peaceful Communities to help collect donations in the form of school supplies or monetary donations to purchase the supplies for children in need. This year it was held on Friday afternoon, Aug. 20 in the Grand Bay Mall parking lot near Foodland. Todd Strickland is the Deputy Mayor and a volunteer with Peaceful Communities.
“Block The Bus is an initiative that’s been started quite a few years ago in trying to get the school supplies donated for those kids and children going back to school that may not have the funds or the ability to get the required items,” explained Strickland. “If we can’t get donations of school supplies, we’ll gladly take donations in the financial capacities and then we can go out and then we can purchase what we need.”
While the drive focuses on elementary children, Strickland said that they will not turn away a child in need.
“If the need comes and we do have some extras, we can certainly help out with the older ages in junior high and high school,” shared Strickland. “But there’s nobody not going to be entertained. If somebody, (such as) an older child or a parent of an older child puts in a request and we have something, we’ll gladly try to help them out the best that we can.”
The event featured a free barbecue and a live musical performance from the Good Time Band.
“It’s just more or less in appreciation that we can show back to people,” said Strickland.
Strickland didn’t expect to fill the bus with supplies, as nice as that might be.
“We probably won’t block the bus, unfortunately, but as each year goes on we see that we get more and more in the financial capacity side of it. So we can go out then and we got the lists from schools of what each grade is required to have, so we can go out and we can purchase what we need,” said Strickland.
Peaceful Communities is a partnership of volunteer and other community groups in the town, with the goal of increasing awareness about violence, mental health issues, and how to keep our community safe, healthy, and peaceful.
“We are always looking for more people to join and more people to give time,” said Strickland. “Unfortunately, that’s the hardest part. If you join the committee, you need that time to give.”
If anyone is in need of help, Strickland said that they should contact Peaceful Communities.
“We try to contribute in some way by doing some little function in town, and just trying to bring awareness to everyone that these resources are here, and the committee and stuff is here, and we can be contacted to help out with whatever,” said Strickland.