We are a little more than one week away from the start of school in Sioux Falls. That means time is running out to donate to Project SOS.
For the last five hours, a bus at the east side Walmart has been filling up with donated school supplies. Every donated item will go towards Project SOS, and with the community number of students in the community growing, the supplies are needed.
Instead of bringing students to school, this bus is looking to help students before classes even start.
"We just want to make sure that children in need get what they need to go back to school to be successful," Madeline Shields said.
The Banquet's Project SOS provides school supplies to low-income families in 33 school districts around the Sioux Falls area. Anyone can help by donating items at area Walmart stores. Every notebook and pack of markers dropped in these boxes will be piled inside the bus.
"It doesn't have to be something major. A few items, a few dollars, a couple bucks can really make all the difference in the world for a child that's in need," Shields said.
The need grows by about five percent every year. This year, the Banquet plans to put together nearly 7,000 backpacks.
And every one of those bags will make a difference in the classroom.
"We hear from teachers and administrators that when a child goes to school and has all the supplies they need, they are much more successful. For that child to walk into school on the first day and if their family can't afford those school supplies, that just starts school on a negative note," Shields said.
Some shoppers think the "Fill A Bus" program is great not just for the students, but also their parents.
"Buying school supplies and things at the beginning of the year is not cheap so any help they can get will be great," Sandie Reininger said.
Which is why both Walmart and Project SOS hope this bus fills up fast.
If you can't make it out to Walmart today, the bus will be collecting donations throughout the weekend as well.