'Stuff the Bus' brings in more than 130,000 pounds for Food Bank of Manatee County

eearl@bradenton.comNovember 26, 2013 

Football players and coaches from Bayshore High School unload a bus filled with donations at the Food Bank of Manatee County. The "Stuff the Bus" campaign brought in 131,000 pounds in food donations. PHOTO PROVIDED

MANATEE -- School buses were packed over the weekend with more than 131,000 pounds of pastas, canned goods and even frozen turkeys for the fifth annual "Stuff the Bus" campaign for the Food Bank of Manatee County.

Manatee School District buses were parked at Publix Super Markets throughout the county during the weekend food drive.

"It is a wonderful thing to give agencies we work with the ability to provide for people who are having a tough time during the holidays," Kristen Theisen, spokeswoman for the Food Bank of Manatee County.

Donations were collected Sunday evening and taken to Tropicana to be weighed, sorted and boxed.

Theisen said Publix Super Markets are still collecting donations this week in food bank barrels. The Food Bank of Manatee County is aiming to gather 150,000 pounds of donated foods.

Mike Barber, spokesman for the Manatee County School District, said the event was a success. It gives students a chance to participate in the season of giving, he said.

At the first "Stuff the Bus," the food bank collected just 47,000 pounds. Since then, Theisen said the program has continued to grow.

"This year we decided to go all out with a challenge of 150,000 pounds," Theisen said. "It is quite a lofty goal for us, but I won't be surprised if we meet it after all is said and done."

Theisen said in addition to collecting non-perishable food items, the Food Bank of Manatee County can take frozen turkey donations this year in refrigerated trucks.

Each year, the "Stuff the Bus" campaign has taken place the weekend before Thanksgiving.

The campaign was an idea conceived five years ago by the Manatee County School District Transportation Department.

"The entire school district is proud to be a part of this effort that supports families in our community, especially as we head into the holiday season," Superintendent Rick Mills said. "I want to thank everyone who made this worthy endeavor possible."Sponsors of "Stuff the Bus" include the United Way of Manatee County, Tropicana, FM radio stations 106.5 CTQ and 92.1 The Coast and Ring Power.

Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service