"Now more than ever it's really good that the kids who are having their own experiences with this feel as normal as possible and that things are still special, still exciting for back to school."By Lisa Washington

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In the midst of a pandemic, many families in Western Pennsylvania need help with necessities. And with school just a few weeks away, school supplies are also on the list. The Western Pennsylvania Division of the Salvation Army plans to help those in need of school supplies.

The Salvation Army’s Stuff the Bus campaign is designed to help deserving students get the school supplies they need, whether kids go back to school in person or via remote learning.

“Now more than ever it’s really good that the kids who are having their own experiences with this feel as normal as possible and that things are still special, still exciting for back to school,” said Lt. Tylar Melfi of the North Boroughs Salvation Army Worship and Service Center.

The bins — some which look like little school buses — will be placed in the front of local Walmart stores this Friday through Sunday, so shoppers can purchase the supplies and donate them at the same location.

Lt. Kelly Melfi is excited to be able to help those in need.

“It’s an honor to be able to give back to children that are in need and need normalcy right now. They need to know that going back to school is going to look different but they are going to be supported by us,” said Lt. Melfi.

Donations will be accepted at 26 local Walmart locations, including Gibsonia, Carnegie and North Versailles. For the full list, visit the Salvation Army’s website.

Each Salvation Army Corps center will plan a distribution event later this month.

Lisa Washington