Volunteers at 19 locations around the county will try to collect enough non-perishable food for 19,000 holiday meals during today's sixth annual "Stuff the Bus" food drive.
The goal of the event, hosted by the North County Transit, Metropolitan Transit System, Albertsons, the Armed Services YMCA, the Girl Scouts and the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, is for community members to fill 19 buses with more food than the 16,000 pounds, or the equivalent of 12,000 meals, that was collected last year, event organizers said.
"It is exceptional that so many organizations have joined to battle hunger in San Diego," Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank President and CEO James A. Floros said. "Tens of thousands of families will rely on the food bank this holiday season, and we need the community's support to be able to serve individuals and families in need. We are encouraging the community to donate at this year's food drive to help us fulfill our mission this holiday season."
North County Transit District and Metropolitan Transit System buses, each with the capacity to hold enough food for 1,000 meals, will be parked outside 17 Albertsons stores in San Diego, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Rancho San Diego, Santee, Spring Valley, Oceanside, Escondido and San Marcos from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Buses will also be parked at Girl Scouts headquarters in San Diego and Carlsbad, a first for the event, according to organizers. Participating scouts will earn a badge on hunger.
Girl Scouts of San Diego CEO Jo Dee C. Jacob said she anticipated that thousands of Girl Scouts would participate in "Stuff the Bus" and would "encourage their friends and neighbors to join us in this important service project."
Following the food drive, the buses will caravan to the food bank and will be unloaded by volunteers from the Armed Services YMCA.
"We are proud to once again do our part for this event and to lend a helping hand to the San Diego Food Bank with a group of military volunteers," local Armed Services YMCA executive director and retired Navy Capt. Paul Steffens said. "This event is a great way for the community to help others, especially local military families who need it to help them stretch their paychecks."
Albertsons stores throughout the county were supplied lists of needed items and were stocked with barrels that customers can use to donate food, officials said.—City News Service