Checklists in hand, Conestoga Elementary students and their parents recently crossed school supply shopping off their to-do lists in a special “shop” set up by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) employees.

BCBSNE, Conestoga’s Adopt-a-School partner, hosts an annual school supply drive for the elementary school. Departments and employees throughout the company collect supplies, including notebooks, pencils, crayons and more, for students and families in need.

In the past, BCBSNE employees would stuff and hand out bags of supplies. A last-minute hiccup led to a new distribution process in 2018, Mindi Struck, a BCBSNE employee and school supply drive organizer said.

“Last year, the bags didn’t come in on time, so we thought, ‘let’s get creative and try something new,’” Struck said. “Our volunteers set up stations and the kids came along and picked out the items they wanted, which was fun because there’s different colors and styles of things.”

BCBSNE set up its school supply shop in Conestoga’s gym once again for the 2019-2020 academic year, bringing in more than 2,000 pencils, 800 notebooks, 400 boxes of crayons and more.

Additionally, BCBSNE collected and donated supplies, such as tissues, index cards and stickers, to Conestoga Elementary teachers.

Six BCBSNE volunteers, including Struck, ran the shop and helped students choose supplies.

“We were really excited to help set up the kids and teachers for success at the start of their school year,” Struck said.

Kari Bednarz, a BCBSNE employee and school supply drive organizer, said she was excited to participate in the school supply drive again this year.

“Being a Nebraska-specific organization, it’s really important that we give back to our community,” Bednarz said. “We should be doing right by our community, and this one of the small things we can do to help the people we serve.”

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