Teachers at Norwood Elementary School will have a little help with school supplies this year.

West Jefferson Police Chief Rick Hardy and Lt. Randy Sibbalds delivered an SUV-full of school supplies to Norwood students Thursday afternoon. The items were collected as donations for the department’s “Cram the Cruiser” event .

“We thought we would have a good turnout, but this was way better than expected,” Chief Hardy said. “We were at a couple community events taking donations which worked well, but people were bringing them to the station as well.”

Students returned to class Monday so Hardy noted the supplies came right in time.

“This is something we’ve wanted to do as a way to give to the students,” he said. “It’s all part of our mission statement to be a partner to the community.”

The department began collecting items four weeks ago and this is the first time we’ve done this,” Hardy added.

Drives such as “Cram the Cruiser” and “Stuff the Bus” have been happening across the state and nationally. The initiative was created to take the financial pressure off families and teachers.

According to a survey from the U.S. Department of Education, elementary teachers spend upwards of $500 of their own money to supply their classrooms throughout the school year. WJPD collected more than a $1000-worth of supplies.

“We hope this helps and we anticipate more in the way of backpacks and other items,” Hardy said. He added that the supplies were collected based on the actual lists provided by the school. The items most-in-need include: No. 2 pencils, glue sticks, washable markers, wide-ruled paper and cleaning wipes.

Hardy said this year was a success and that he hopes to not only continue the drive each year, but to extend it to other donations such as a community food drive.

“It’s something we could implement for a number of reasons. We could collect food or clothes, especially around the holidays,” he said. “This is something law enforcement does across the country and we want to do our part.”