Students with special needs receive a busload of school supplies

SARASOTA (WSNN) – Some students on the Suncoast received a busload of goodies for school.

“I feel like we’re a part of something,” a student at The Haven Anabela Burns said.

Burn’s first year at The Haven. It’s a non-profit offering programs for students with specials needs. She says she loves it here.

“It feels like home,” Burns said.

On Friday, The Haven hosted its first-ever ‘Fill the Bus’ event.

“They reached every goal that I’ve ever imagined,” The Haven’s Family and Community Engagement Specialist Heather Shoup said.

Throughout August, six community partners collected school supplies.

“I’m just really excited that everyone wants to help support The Haven and

Crayons, glue, paper, books, and markers were just some of the many items that were donated.

“It’s an amazing experience to see all the wonderful things that have been donated,” Burns said.

Usually, parents donate the supplies, but this year they went a different route.

“I kind of didn’t want to put that on them,” Shoup said. “Sometimes life is hard and throughout COVID, we just wanted to supply our kids with everything we could this year. And have everything that we ever needed and wished for.”

The Haven offers high school and college classes for students ages 14 to

“It’s probably the largest class we’ve had here,” Shoup said. “We started really small with only about 10 kids, and now we’re up to about 40.”

Burns is learning how to cook at her internship.

“I help in the bakery, and I get to have a close-up of everything we’re making and it’s an amazing experience,” Burns said.

The families, vendors, and staff enjoyed a fun-filled Friday with Pizza and cookies to celebrate this successful event.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Blaze Pizza, Manatee Public Library, Culver’s, Rise & Nye’s, and Parkwood Dental East are the vendors who made this all possible.