United Way of Aiken County is seeking contributions of items such as No. 2 pencils, erasers and glue sticks for its 12th annual School Tools Outreach Program.


Also needed are blue and black ink pens, dividers, 1-inch 3-ring binders, safety scissors, loose-leaf lined paper, crayons, colored pencils, washable markers and book bags.


United Way will distribute the collected supplies to schools in Aiken County in August, and school officials then will give them to students whose families can't afford to purchase them.


“Students need the proper supplies in order to feel prepared for school and in order to have success in the classroom,” said Lindsey Rosenlieb, director of marketing for United Way. “Having those supplies makes them feel more confident about starting school and gives them a positive attitude toward school.”


Donations of money also are being accepted to help defray the cost of school supplies purchased by United Way.


Any organization, business or church that wants to conduct a drive to gather supplies for the School Tools effort can pick up a bin or box at the United Way's office at 235 Barnwell Ave. N.W.


All donations of supplies must be received by July 25 to allow sufficient time for sorting and distribution before the 2014-2015 school year begins.


For more information about the School Tools program, call Rosenlieb at 803-648-8331. Donations can be dropped off at the United Way's office.


In addition, United Way will be holding Stuff the Bus events to collect school supplies on July 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at three sites. Those locations are the Wal-Mart at 1201 Knox Ave. in North Augusta, and the Wal-Mart stores at 2035 Whiskey Road and 3581 Richland Ave. W. in Aiken.


“Usually, Stuff the Bus is on a Saturday, but it's going to be on a Friday this year,” Rosenlieb said. “We made the change because we coordinate Stuff the Bus with all three Wal-Marts and they have other people coming in and doing events. We had to find a day that worked for all of the locations.”


An Aiken County school bus is scheduled to be at each of the Wal-Mart stores during the Stuff the Bus events.


Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C., she is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.