SALINAS, Calif. -

Backpacks filled with school supplies were delivered Monday to Monterey County schools as part of the Stuff the Bus program.

Volunteers with the United Way of Monterey County joined employees of the County Office of Education to deliver the backpacks and supplies collected through their annual drive.

A packed school bus stopped first at Sherwood Elementary School, where approximately 24 percent of K-6 students are considered homeless.

There are more than 5,865 students in Monterey County who are homeless or in great need and cannot afford the supplies they need for school.

Backpacks containing binders, paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons and other necessities will be delivered to students through the staff who serve as liaisons to the homeless students in each school district.

Providing children with the necessary supplies to participate in school promotes learning, encourages self-esteem and helps kids stay in school.