SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Fill the Fiat has become the rallying cry for generous supporters providing school supplies for homeless children this fall.

A Fiat in the front lobby of the TD Bank building in downtown Springfield provides an open invitation for people to stuff the car with backpacks and other school supplies. The United Way of Pioneer Valley is spearheading this initiative helping homeless students.

“The gap we fill by doing this is to put school supplies and backpacks into the hands of kids who are going to be houseless the night before the first day of school. That number in our five communities is about 2,500,” said Alice Buckner, Resource Development Director at United Way of Pioneer Valley.

“We are fortunate to have generous donors who want to ensure that every student begins the school year with the supplies they need. And we are grateful to Peter Pan Bus Lines, who lend a bus and driver each year to deliver the backpacks to the school districts,” said Paul Mina, President and CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley.

This is the second year the United Way has used the Fiat for this purpose, courtesy of the car’s owner, Attorney Paul Mancinone-Chairman of the board at Mercy Medical Center.

The following items are needed if you are considering donating:

  • Notebooks
  • Composition books
  • Filler paper
  • Crayons
  • Index cards
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Erasers
  • Highlighters
  • Rulers

Supplies can be dropped off at 1441 Main Street by the Fiat through August 16. you can also drop off supplies at Target and Macy’s at the Holyoke Mall as well as Balise dealerships.