Dust off your backpacks and bust out your lunch boxes; it’s back to school season for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) and its adopt-a-school partner, Conestoga Elementary.

BCBSNE recently supplied 390 Conestoga Elementary students with notebooks, folders, pencils and more to prepare them for the school year during its annual school supply drive hosted by employees.

“We managed to cover the school supplies for all the students and covered many of the requested teachers’ supplies as well,” said Dana Siek, BCBSNE enterprise product owner and drive volunteer. “We are very grateful for everyone who donated school supplies or money to this cause. The teachers, administrators, parents and students are very grateful as well.”

In addition to the school supplies donated, employees raised $1,050 in monetary donations to put toward supplies for students and teachers’ highly requested items, such as tissues, Dixie cups, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and dry erase markers and erasers.

“We purchased 435 spiral notebooks, 421 two-pocket folders, 144 boxes of colored pencils, 294 boxes of markers, 246 scissors, 165 bottles of glue and 223 boxes of crayons,” Siek said. “You can imagine how the store felt when we rolled up with this type of volume in multiple carts.”

Siek and others went to three Omaha-area Walmarts and online on Amazon to purchase all the supplies needed.

Once all the items were gathered and brought to Conestoga Elementary on Thursday, Aug. 12, students and parents were able to shop for their supplies. BCBSNE volunteers and attendees wore masks in order to protect everyone’s health.

The school supply “shop” is the typical format of the drive; however, last year students were given pre-packed school supply bags due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were all excited to get back to the format where we have tables set up in the gym and have separate stations for each of the school supplies,” said Siek. “The students can choose what supplies they need and what color they like best.  From a personal perspective, we get to talk with the students and find out a little bit about them. It’s nice to meet the person on the receiving end of our efforts.”

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