stuff-the-bus-colored-logoEmpower our youngest central Iowans by donating children's books

Stuff the Bus is our annual book drive. Together last year we collected nearly 24,000 books. Data show that students who have access to print reading materials have better literacy outcomes. The books we collect will be distributed to United Way’s funded partner programs, child care centers, and in-home child care providers who serve kids of all ages. 


If your organization is committed to education and early childhood success, sign up below to host a Stuff the Bus book drive in your workplace. We’ll provide you with resources and tools to help make it a success. During your drive, ask employees to donate new and gently-used* books meant for children from birth through middle school. Whether your team is working remotely or in an office, you can make it easy by hosting a book-purchasing opportunity with this toolkit


If you would like to donate books, please bring your new or gently used* books meant for children from birth through middle school to Athene USA, 7700 Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines on Tuesday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Or if you prefer to make a monetary donation that will be used to purchase books, please use the Stuff the Bus Donation form below.

Ready to donate?

If you have concluded your book drive, please let us know how many books you will be donating. Visit to share your results with us and help us get ready to sort and distribute the thousands of books that will be donated.

Stuff the Bus Company Registration

Please complete this form to enroll your company to donate books to help Stuff the Bus.

Supporting Companies

  • Athene
  • Bankers Trust
  • Bidwell-Riverside
  • CDS Global
  • Corteva Agriscience
  • Cummins Inc.
  • DART
  • Delta Dental Iowa 
  • Dickinson Law
  • DLL
  • EMC Insurance 
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Epworth United Methodist Church
  • FBL Financial Group
  • Goodwill of Central Iowa
  • GreenState Credit Union 
  • Iowa League of Cities 
  • Merchants Bonding
  • Meredith 
  • Outlets of Des Moines
  • Palmer Group, Inc. 
  • Principal Financial Group
  • Principal Real Estate Investors
  • Shazam Network
  • State Auto Insurance 
  • Storey Kenworthy
  • UMR, Inc. 

Book List

We accept new and gently-used* books, and especially appreciate books from our recommended list. We have found that most of the groups that request books serve children ages 0 - 6. If you are trying to decide what age to focus on think about children in daycare and preschool. We do distribute books to children of all ages, however, birth to high school.

*Gently-used books should be appropriate for children and in good condition. Please avoid donating books with visible damage, including pages that are missing, torn, or colored. 

Need Books for Your Organization? 

Organizations can learn more about our book distribution program and complete our Stuff the Bus Book Request Form.

Book Request Form


Drop your books and celebrate with us!

Please plan to deliver book donations to the community collection site on:

Tuesday, May 25
Athene USA
7700 Mills Civic Pkwy, West Des Moines
 Volunteers will be on-site to collect the books from your vehicle. You can anticipate a safe, contactless delivery.
For questions, please contact Vanessa at

Thank you to our event sponsors

 Athene_Logo.png          SHAZAM Logo (horizontal 1-color)



Stuff the Bus is part of United Way of Central Iowa's UNITED to THRIVE strategic focus on Education Success, where central Iowa youth are academically successful and have a plan for their future.