Retired military officers donate school supplies to Hillcrest


U.S. Army Col. Craig Ham, retired, left, helps unload 50 backpacks from the back of his pickup truck from Stuff The Bus with Principal Lori Manresa at Hillcrest School in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. Ham, who is with the Kingdom of the Sun Chapter, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has delivered 946 backpacks filled with school supplies valued at $40,441.50 for children from needy families to 31 schools in Marion County so far this year. Ham, a former Deputy Superintendent of Marion County Public Schools, is the vice president of the MOAA chapter and also presides over the Marion County Veterans Council. According to Ham, the Stuff The Bus program was started 19 years ago by the late Col. (Chaplain) Lamar Hunt who was the president of the MOAA chapter at the time. Suzanne McGuire, formerly of Marion County Public Schools, was also involved in the program and helped with it for several years, he said. The MOAA chapter program has provided more than a half million dollars of needed supplies to needy students in Marion County since it was started, Ham said. Cash and donations are given by individuals and businesses in the community. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this year marks a high water mark for Stuff The Bus, where the most backpacks and school supplies were delivered with the delivery to Hillcrest School on Friday. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.

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Posted October 9, 2020 | Photography by Bruce Ackerman

Retired U.S. Army Col. Craig Ham, who is with the Kingdom of the Sun Chapter, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has delivered 946 backpacks filled with school supplies valued at $40,441.50 for children from needy families to 31 schools in Marion County so far this year. Ham, a former Deputy Superintendent of Marion County Public Schools, is the vice president of the MOAA chapter and also presides over the Marion County Veterans Council. According to Ham, the Stuff The Bus program was started 19 years ago by the late Col. (Chaplain) Lamar Hunt who was the president of the MOAA chapter at the time. Suzanne McGuire, formerly of Marion County Public Schools, was also involved in the program and helped with it for several years, he said. The MOAA chapter program has provided more than a half million dollars of needed supplies to needy students in Marion County since it was started, Ham said. Cash and donations are given by individuals and businesses in the community. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this year marks a high water mark for Stuff The Bus, where the most backpacks and school supplies were delivered with the delivery to Hillcrest School on Friday. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.