Hunger never sleeps, and it doesn’t take a summer vacation. So this year, a new program hopes to keep the shelves well stocked at the Houston County Food Shelf during warm weather.
“This is our first annual ‘Stuff the Bus’ food drive,” said Houston County Semcac food shelf manager Kristy Pearce.
A key sponsor is Masonic Lodge #20 of Caledonia, which is providing promotional funds, purchasing food and helping to collect donations.
The bus, driver and fuel is being provided by Schmitz Bus Line, Pearce added. The vehicle will be parked at a variety of locations throughout the county from Aug. 12-21, so folks who want to donate food or funds can easily do so.
“The majority of our food drives and donations come in during the holidays,” Pearce said.
“What happens is, during the summer months, kids are out of school, parents are trying to put three meals on the table instead of one, so we have a climb in numbers in how many families we help in Houston County. It gets harder and harder (to maintain the food shelf).”
She added, “Donations are down, food drives are down, and our numbers are up. We’re trying to get better at having these food drives in the summer.”
On Friday, Aug. 12, the bus will be parked at Red’s IGA in Spring Grove from 2 to 7 p.m. The following day, it will be at Quillins in Caledonia from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Tuesday, Aug. 16, donors can find the bus at the Semcac foodshelf in downtown Caledonia from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Next comes an extended run at the Houston County Fair. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, the bus will be on hand for the Skidsteer Rodeo during the evening grandstand event. The fair will accept a canned food item or monetary donation as admission to that event with all of those going towards “Stuff the Bus.”
On Thursday, Aug. 18, through Saturday, Aug. 20, fair-goers can find the bus staffed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The bus will also be at the fair on Sunday, when donations can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ed Hammell has donated the use of a large tent to help hold donations raised at the fair.
And there’s more. “An enormous amount of Houston County businesses (87 at last count) have donated merchandise for prizes,” Pearce said. So folks who sign up for drawings while bringing in food donations can win all sorts of goodies.
“Every hour on the hour during the event, we will be drawing to give away these prizes, starting at out kickoff,” Pearce added. “We ended up with more prize donations than we thought we would get. I’m still picking them up.”