Since 2008, the Stuff the Bus food drive has raised more than 339,000 pounds of food for people in need.It began as a friendly competition between Camas and Washougal high schools to support The Children’s Home Society of Washougal and the Christmas Activities Relief Organization Limited.
The event, created by the Camas-Washougal Business Alliance, designated those two organizations in an effort to keep all donations in the local community.
As Stuff the Bus enters its sixth year, there are changes in store. The biggest one is that the two high schools, in conjunction with elementary and middle schools, will work together toward a common goal of 85,000 pounds of food and personal care items.
Why the change? According to Stephen Frye, business alliance president, the schools have outgrown the need for a competition and are now more focused on giving.
“We decided to join the two cities and thereby reinforce the concept of a one community made up of two cities, working towards a common goal,” he said. “The students have embraced the idea and actually prefer the opportunity to work side-by-side. We have been very encouraged by the level of camaraderie.”
Food donations can be brought to either of the high schools on the day of the event, Friday Dec. 6, between noon and 5 p.m. WHS is located at 1201 39th St. CHS is located at 26900 S.E. 15th St.
In addition, a bag of food may also be purchased at Safeway in either Camas or Washougal.
A list of most needed items is available at www.cwbusinessalliance.com, and includes tuna fish, chili, baby food, peanut butter, granola bars, nutritious “pop top” canned food, toothpaste, shampoos, blankets and diapers.
This year, The Inter-Faith Treasure House has also been added back to the list of Stuff the Bus beneficiaries, after a two year absence.
“With the amount of food donated each year, this event is more than able to satisfy (C.A.R.O.L and The Children’s Home Society) and therefore we will be including the Inter-Faith treasure House in our efforts,” Frye said. “The CAROL program and the Children’s Home Society rely almost entirely on this event each year for food donations. We haven’t been able to adequately support the Treasure House in the past without sacrificing donations to these original two groups. But with the level of success we’re experiencing now, we feel we can now help this group as well.”