‘Fill The Bus’ Campaign Concludes

Members of the Axemen Professional Firefighters Motorcycle Club New York Chapter 4 met with students and community members at Jefferson Middle School in association with the organizations annual “Fill The Bus” school supplies campaign on Tuesday. Collection of school supplies ended on Sept. 21 with additional events hosted on Sept. 22 and the most recent one on Oct. 9. Submitted photo

The fifth annual “Fill The Bus” school supplies campaign is officially over, but the fundraiser will technically be extended as the Axemen Professional Firefighters Motorcycle Club New York Chapter 4 will travel to Clymer Central School District on Oct. 19 to deliver the remaining supplies.

The Axemen began gathering school supplies for just Jamestown Public Schools five year ago, and then three years ago the Falconer Central School District was included. Now, with significant donations from Cummins Engine and Walmart, the motorcycle club will be able to provide additional supplies to Clymer. Cummins Engine, who has been involved for three years, donated $5,000 this year and Walmart donated a $500 gift card to provide more school supplies. In total, the group gathered in between $3,000 and $4,000 worth of supplies from the public alone, said Keith Eckland, member of the Axemen.

“Our whole goal is to help our children. The children are our future,” Eckland said. “We want to help our future and help out the educators and pay it forward.”

On Tuesday, the Axemen visited Jefferson Middle School to officially deliver the school supplies that had been collected since Aug. 1. The group later traveled to Falconer to deliver their share of supplies. The annual “Fill The Bus” event took place on Sept. 22 in the parking lot of Friendly’s. There, Jamestown provides a bus to fill with supplies every year.

Collection sites were set up around the region in Falconer, Jamestown and Lakewood. The sites could be seen at local banks and credit unions, local shops and retail stores.

“We have probably over 30 different locations,” Eckland said.

Eckland said the organization hopes to pick a new school district to donate school supplies every year in addition to Jamestown and Falconer.

“We would like to give back to the other schools, as well, out in the rural area,” he said.

Eckland was pleased that the campaign was able to provide three school districts with supplies for first time. He praised the efforts of all organizations involved and the community’s participation.

“They’re all very helpful and willing to participate in the program,” he said.