Stuff the Bus: Neighbors helping neighbors

Donations to annual food drive can be made now

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Students fill a school bus with non-perishable food items during last year's Stuff the Bus food drive, which generated 61,000 pounds of food. Organized by the Camas-Washougal Business Alliance, the effort is a friendly competition between Camas and Washougal high schools and involves students in all grade levels.

An annual food drive that brings together hundreds of kids to help generate thousands of pounds of food for the needy is underway.

Stuff the Bus, organized by the Camas-Washougal Business Alliance, is a friendly competition between Camas and Washougal high school students. Each and every school in both cities’ school districts participate by collecting donations.

Last year, 61,000 pounds of food was raised, and organizers are hoping to top that this year.

“We all love working with the kids and working with the community and businesses, and educating them on the importance of this food drive,” said Angie Cherry of the CWBA. “We are feeding people we know — our neighbors. There are so many people who need to receive help this year.”

All donations go to organizations that serve the Camas-Washougal communities including the Children’s Home Society of Washington and Christmas Activities Relief Organization Limited food and toy program, organized by Camas-Washougal Fire Department Firefighter Brooks Cooper. In addition, this year one of the beneficiaries will be American Legion Post 122, which runs a food basket program for Skamania County families.

Cherry said although CWBA organizes the event, its success depends on receiving help, support and contributions from the Camas, Washougal and Skamania County communities.

“We are all really proud and happy to work here, and to be able to help out,” she said. “But the community is really at the heart of Stuff the Bus and Stuff the Scholarship.”

Cherry said local residents can participate by dropping off food donations at local Safeway stores. Collection barrels are on site, and students will be there this Wednesday and Saturday, and then on Saturday, Dec. 1, taking donations and selling raffle tickets.

Cherry said people can also help by volunteering their time.

“The event is so big, I don’t think we could ever have enough volunteers,” she said. “We could always use more people to help out, especially adults.”

On Friday, Dec. 7, the official weigh-in day, buses will be parked from noon to 5 p.m. collecting food donations from the community and their supporting elementary and middle schools. The weigh in will be held at Exterior Wood in Washougal, followed by unloading at Children’s Home Society in downtown Washougal.