2020 has forced the United Way Emerald Coast to think outside the box, be creative, and find new ways to support its mission. Each year it hosts Cram the Van, a school supply drive that supports Okaloosa and Walton county students. The organization created an Amazon Wishlist to give the community an opportunity to donate supplies, accepted monetary donations, and several businesses even hosted their own collection drives. With partnerships new and old, Cram the Van was a success!
Cram the Van collected and distributed over 80 boxes (four pallets) of school supplies, $655 in Text to Donate dollars, and $1700+ in gift cards! These supplies were shared with elementary, middle, and high schools that fall under Title 1, which have the largest concentration of low-income students. Over 50% of students in these schools are eligible for free or reduced lunch, which is a factor in determining a Title 1 status. In total, 14+ schools received these items and distributed to over 7,000 students.