GOSHEN, NY – Many students look forward to summer vacation with anticipation and excitement, but for those who rely on school meal programs for breakfast and lunch, summer can be a challenging time.
“Hunger doesn’t take a holiday. That’s why the summer Stuff the Bus food drive is so important,” said Chuck Benfer, iHeartMedia Market President, and the driving force behind the bi-annual Stuff the Bus food drive organized by the media group, now in its 21st year. “When students are home for summer break, feeding those extra mouths can be a challenge for families struggling to get by – and the problem can be compounded when food pantry supplies are typically low during summer months,” said Benfer. “Stuff the Bus helps restock pantry shelves to meet the summer surge.”
Catholic Charities Community Services in Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties have been the beneficiaries of Stuff the Bus for the past four years. This year, teams of Catholic Charities staff and volunteers spent Father’s Day weekend “unstuffing” the buses that were filled with donations of non-perishable food items collected by radio personalities from iHeartMedia stations WRWD, Q92, Z93, KISSFM, and WKIP News Radio, staff, and volunteers at Stop & Shop locations in Newburgh, Hyde Park, Hopewell Junction, and Poughkeepsie.
The Summer 2018 Stuff the Bus food drive collected more than 4,500 pounds of non-perishable food items that were sorted, repacked, and distributed to food pantries, soup kitchens, and other Catholic Charities’ partners in the four-county service area. More than 65,000 items have been collected through Stuff the Bus since iHeartMedia began partnering with Catholic Charities in June 2015. This summer’s most popular donations were boxed macaroni and cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, and breakfast cereal.
“We are grateful to our friends at iHeartMedia for once again selecting Catholic Charities as their Stuff the Bus beneficiary,” said Kristin Jensen, Chief Advancement Officer at Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster. “Not only is the bi-annual drive a great benefit for Catholic Charities, the food pantries, and the clients we serve, it is an outstanding example of how community members can work together to make a difference in the lives of others. Dozens of staff and volunteers spent a beautiful Father’s Day weekend to make the food drive a success. We are exceptionally grateful to our friends at iHeartMedia and their Stuff the Bus partners, including Stop & Shop, Gallagher Bus Service/Leprechaun Lines, Arnoff Moving & Storage, Claudio Cares Foundation, People’s United Bank, and Viking Industries for their generous support,” added Jensen.
The next Stuff the Bus event is scheduled for the weekend before Thanksgiving, at Stop & Shop locations in the mid-Hudson Valley.
Those in need of assistance from a food pantry should contact Catholic Charities for additional information:
– Dutchess County – 845.452.1400
– Orange County – 845.561.1665
– Ulster County – 845.340.9170, ext. 100.
– Sullivan County – 845.794.8080, ext. 250
Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster, as one of the human service agencies of Catholic Charities of The Archdiocese of New York, is committed to building a compassionate and just society. Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster serves the homeless, the hungry, the emotionally and physically handicapped, immigrants, and the marginalized and vulnerable of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. Catholic Charities collaborates with parishes, Catholic, and non-Catholic partners alike to help people of all religions who are in need. For more information, visit www.cccsos.org.