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It’s Time to Stuff the Bus

Stuff the Bus campaign continues in February.

Students from Hayfield and South County Secondary School’s Junior ROTC volunteered to help the hungry by working a Stuff the Bus event in Lorton. There are still several Stuff the Bus events in the next couple of weeks throughout Fairfax County.

Students from Hayfield and South County Secondary School’s Junior ROTC volunteered to help the hungry by working a Stuff the Bus event in Lorton. There are still several Stuff the Bus events in the next couple of weeks throughout Fairfax County.

Fairfax County residents can do more than just shop when they go to the grocery store this month.

Upcoming Stuff the Bus Times and Locations

*Feb. 8

Fairfax Walmart

11181 Lee Highway

Fairfax, VA 22030

Benefiting James Mott Community Assistance Program

Village Center at Dulles Shoppers

2425 Centreville Road

Herndon, VA 20171

Benefiting Cornerstones

*Feb. 15

Falls Church Giant

1230 W. Broad St.

Falls Church, VA 22046

Benefiting Falls Church Community Service Council

Mt. Vernon Plaza Shoppers

7660 Richmond Highway

Alexandria, VA 22306

Benefiting United Community Ministries

*Feb 17

Cardinal Forest Giant

8320 Old Keene Mill Rd.

Springfield, VA 22152

Benefiting Ecumenical Community Helping Others

Kingstowne Giant

5870 Kingstowne Blvd.

Alexandria, VA 22315

Benefitting Koinonia Foundation

The Stuff the Bus campaign, which has already been held at seven locations throughout Fairfax County, allows shoppers to donate food to nonprofit organizations in the area.

Fastran Buses staffed by MV transportation are parked in the parking lots of grocery stores, reminding shoppers to "Stuff the Bus" for those in need.

The Lorton Community Action Center is one of the organizations that has benefited from the Stuff the Bus campaign.

According to Linda Patterson, the executive director of Lorton Community Action Center, 1,160 pounds of food and $495.94 was donated from the Stuff the Bus drive at the Lorton Valley Giant.

"It was a very cold weekend, but the volunteers stuck it out and did a great job of talking to folks who entered the store," Patterson said. "And of course, Lorton Valley Giant is awesome."

Students from Hayfield and South County Secondary School’s Junior ROTC volunteered at the Stuff the Bus drive benefiting the Lorton Community Action Center.

"The youth did a great job of talking up the need," Patterson said. "They had little fliers of specific donations we need folks to target. And people did exactly that. They bought the items on our list-the items we are most in need of."

Lorton Community Action Center is in need of diapers and wipes, as well as pasta, pasta sauce, rice and breakfast cereal.

Patterson said the Stuff the Bus Campaign is truly helpful for LCAC.

"Prior to us having being part of Stuff the Bus, we didn’t really have any food drives until March or April," she said. "To have this one, in either January or February, has been a huge help to LCAC. It gives us some of the things that will help us carry on until early spring."

It was this need that led Fairfax County to first implement the Stuff the Bus campaign. Fairfax County and MV Transportation started Stuff the Bus, now in its fourth year, to address a decrease in food donations after the holidays.

Fairfax County is not immune to food shortages. In Fairfax County Public Schools, 47,000 students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Robert Petitti, executive director of the Koinonia Foundation, said the Stuff the Bus campaign really helps provide food for families after the holidays.

"We could always use personal items- toothpaste, deodorant, diapers-all sizes of diapers are wonderful," Petitti said. "What we could also really use right now is sugar, flour, rice, peanut butter. I know that at the Giant food store in Kingstowne, the manager is placing five dollar bags right at the checkout for us."

Fairfax County residents still have three more dates to donate foods to groups in the area, including the James Mott Community Assistance Program, Cornerstones, Falls Church Community Service Council, United Community Ministries, Ecumenical Community Helping Others and Koinonia Foundation.