Stuff a Bus organizers hoping for another successful year

A simple concept has resulted in literally busloads of food and Christmas gifts being collected for Sylvan Lake charities

A simple concept has resulted in literally busloads of food and Christmas gifts being collected for Sylvan Lake charities over the past 14 years.

Stuff a Bus, put on by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Sylvan Lake-based bus drivers, will return to Sylvan Lake on Saturday (Dec. 6) to collect food, toys and money for the Sylvan Lake Food Bank and the Christmas Bureau.

Organizers are hoping this year will be the event’s most successful ever.

“The seats are usually filled on the buses,” said driver and event organizer Wayne Stade. “That’s the idea of stuffing a bus.”

Stade created the event about 14 years ago after being inspired by another driver’s similar event in Red Deer. It’s fairly simple to organize and put on, yet generates plenty of support for important community organizations, he feels.

And town residents have always proved immensely supportive.

“People are willing to give at Christmas time, and it’s an easy way for them to give,” said Stade.

People who see the buses typically pick up extra food or items while they’re inside the grocery store, and drop it off at the bus on their way out, said Stade. Participating stores have also been supportive and co-operative, he added.

“The businesses are really good to let us park there,” he said.

School buses will be parked and manned by drivers at Sobeys, No-Frills and Walmart from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Extremely cold weather caused last year’s event to be rescheduled to a week later than planned. Stade doesn’t anticipate that will be the case this year, and said weather “has to be really bad” for it to be moved to a later date.

About $3,000 in food and cash was raised last year, along with a large number of toys for the Christmas Bureau.