Get on the bus: Packed for Success returns

Get on the bus: Packed for Success returns

Submitted by Carol Tracy Carr

To many people, volunteering means finding an organization that is doing something for the community they think is important and then stepping forward to offer whatever time and energy they can afford. But what if you see a need you’d like to address but no such organization exists? Andre-A’Bryanna “Bree” Key can answer that question.

Back in her high school days, Bree noticed that some students couldn’t afford all the tools they needed to have a successful school year, such as notebooks, backpacks, markers and pens. With the help of her parents, Bree founded Packed for Success, an organization which aims to provide students with the tools they need in order to have a successful school year.

Its main event is the annual Packed for Success project, in which a school bus is made available to the public where they can drop off the kind of materials that are commonly found on the supply lists provided at the beginning of each school year. Walmart has been a generous partner in this project, permitting the bus to sit in its parking lot for several days so people can easily drop off their donations.

Initially Bree started this project by collecting and purchasing items herself. In following years, students, parents, staff, and other community members offered to volunteer, helping to make the project a bigger success.

Bree, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), is pursuing degrees in criminal justice, homeland security and emergency preparedness and hopes to obtain a master’s of public health to pursue a career of emergency management in a hospital. While attending VCU, Bree has obtained a certification of leadership studies and become the treasurer of the NAACP, Black Awakening Choir, and the Epsilon Zeta Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.

This year’s Packed for Success event will take place July 26-28 at Walmart. A Fluvanna school bus will sit in the parking lot ready to receive donations. New and gently used backpacks, school supplies, shoes, clothing, sports and art equipment, instruments and hygiene items will be accepted. Cash donations are also welcomed. Checks should be made out to the Fluvanna County Education Foundation, but they must be earmarked as “Donation for Packed for Success” on the notes section of the check.

“Everyone involved with this program greatly appreciates the Fluvanna County Education Foundation’s support and assistance with this program,” said Bree.

Families are encouraged to bring their children, especially those who have never before been on a school bus. This event needs plenty of volunteers for a number of tasks that can last from an hour to as much time as you’d like to give. Volunteers are needed to stay at the bus and accept donations. After the collection, volunteers are needed to help sort out the materials so that an equitable amount is given to each school, and then to transport them to the schools.

In advance of the event, Bree is planning to send letters to local businesses and organizations to ask for donations; a few hours of office help printing and mailing out letters would also be helpful. Donations of food for the bus attendants would also be a quick and easy way to participate.

If this is an event that you’d like to offer your time, energy or money, please get in touch with Bree Key at Additional information can also be found on the Fluvanna County Schools social media pages. July will be a busy month for this event, so please step forward as early as you can. This program will make a big difference for the youngest people in our community.

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