Local race raises money for student education

Rebekah Alvey

About 100 people gathered at Chaney’s Dairy Barn Saturday morning to run for a cause 12 years in the making.

Stuff the Bus is an annual event that collects and raises money for school supplies and serves grade school students from 10 surrounding counties. The event, initiated and led by local radio show host Tony Rose, is approaching its twelfth year. 

The Stuff the Bus Family Fun Run was a 5K race created to raise awareness and funds for the main Stuff the Bus event July 20. 

Saturday’s race was presented by Bowling Green Athletic Club and was the second year for the event. Rose said about 80 people had registered for the race before Saturday and he thought more people signed up on site. 

Race participants included frequent runners, teachers and families from Bowling Green and surrounding counties. Rose said all proceeds go towards Stuff the Bus.

The race kicked off the month-long countdown to the official event. Rose said he would be touring through participating counties in an RV to spread awareness and attend similar fundraising events.

Rose said Stuff the Bus started off as a radio stunt. He promised to live in a school bus until it was filled with school supplies.

In the first year, the event raised two tons of school supplies. Rose said the supplies they raised were used just within the first day of school.

Rose said the response the event received from the community and how quickly the schools used the supplies made him realize it was more than a stunt. 

From the first year, the event has grown to raise 17 tons of supplies and now includes two $1000 scholarships to WKU for a child or grandchild of a current or retired bus driver in one of the 10 counties involved. 

The scholarship was started by Rose and the College Heights Foundation. Rose said as the event grew he saw the need grow and wanted to take Stuff the Bus to the next level by helping college students fund their education. 

This year is the second year the scholarship has been available to WKU students. Rose said his goal is to create more scholarships.

“We are changing lives and people’s family tree,” Rose said. 

Rising Park City freshman Rebecca Hurley, one of the scholarship recipients, was at the 5K to show her support. She said she discovered the scholarship on TopDollar and thought it worked well for her because both her mom and dad are involved with the bus system. 

Hurley said it’s important that projects want to support the youth and education. Through the scholarship, Hurley said she is more able to focus on her studies as a civil engineering major. 

Stuff the Bus and the scholarships also help put students on the same playing field by allowing them to fit in and look like those around them. Rose said events similar to Stuff the Bus only work in communities like Southern KY. 

“The community is big enough to find resources to get things done but small enough to find the need and people to help,” Rose said.

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].