25,000+ Pounds of Food Donations Collected for Catholic Charities at Thanksgiving Stuff-the-Bus Food Drive

Hosted by iHeartMedia, Friendly Auto Group, and Stop & Shop Stores
Drive Restocked Food Programs in Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, & Ulster Counties

Hudson Valley, NY – The season of giving was kicked off by busy shoppers who helped make Thanksgiving brighter for families in need throughout the Hudson Valley. The 22nd annual Stuff-the-Bus food drive hosted by iHeartMedia was held Friday through Sunday, the weekend before Thanksgiving, at five area Stop & Shop store locations. More than 25,000 pounds of non-perishable food was collected to benefit the programs and partners of Catholic Charities in the mid-Hudson area.

iHeartMedia radio personalities, staff, and volunteers spread word of the food drive to shoppers at Stop & Shop locations in Newburgh, Hyde Park, Hopewell Junction, and two in Poughkeepsie. They helped load donations onto full-sized school buses, provided courtesy of Gallagher Bus Service/Leprechaun Lines, as well as vehicles provided by Friendly Auto Group and the Dutchess County Driving School. The buses delivered the food to a team of Catholic Charities staff and volunteers who unstuffed, sorted, counted, weighed, and repacked thousands of food items to prepare them for the recipient food pantries, soup kitchens, parishes, and other Catholic Charities’ partners in the four-county service area.

This year’s Thanksgiving Stuff-the-Bus food drive collected the equivalent of 21,499 meals! In addition to 964, “Thanksgiving in a Box” packages, the most commonly donated food items were canned vegetables and fruit, soup and other canned meals, pasta, and breakfast cereal. This bounty was shared with 23 different food pantries and programs in Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, and Dutchess Counties. In addition, Catholic Charities distributed 80 turkeys donated by the Orange County Tavern and Restaurant Association and 470 winter coats from iHeartMedia and Mid-Hudson Subaru’s annual coat drive.

“As prosperous as the mid-Hudson region may seem, food insecurity is a reality for many who live here,” said Chuck Benfer, iHeartMedia Market President. “Over the past 22 years, the Stuff-the-Bus food drive has helped restock area food pantries at a time when the need increases. We are grateful for the generous support from those who have made this annual drive a success, including Stop & Shop and their shoppers, Gallagher Bus Service/Leprechaun Lines, Claudio Cares Foundation, Foam & Wash Car Wash, People’s United Bank, Viking Industries, and Catholic Charities and their teams of volunteers who get the food donations distributed to our neighbors in need,” added Benfer.

Volunteers included students from SUNY New Paltz and the youth group at Sacred Heart Church, Newburgh, food pantry representatives, and many local parish and community members.

“Catholic Charities is blessed to be a part of iHeartMedia’s Stuff-the-Bus event,” said Hector Morell, Director of Social and Human Services, Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster. “The outpouring of generosity from the iHeartMedia team members, the shoppers, and our hard-working volunteers was tremendous. Together, we helped sort and distribute 25,000 pounds of donations to help people who are struggling to make ends meet in four counties,” added Morell.

Those in need of assistance from a food pantry should contact Catholic Charities for additional information:

– Dutchess County – 845.452.1400

– Orange County – 845.561.1665

– Ulster County – 845.340.9170, ext. 100.

– Sullivan County – 845.794.8080, ext. 2870

Volunteer Pat Schiskie and Hector Morell, Catholic Charities Director of Social and Human Services, helped sort and pack donated food items during iHeartMedia’s Thanksgiving Stuff-the-Bus food drive which benefited Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster.

Volunteers line up to help UNstuff-the-Bus as part of iHeartMedia’s annual Thanksgiving food drive. More than 25,000 pounds of donated food was collected and distributed by Catholic Charities to 23 different food pantries and programs in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties.

Catholic Charities Ulster County Regional Supervisor, Dominique Mills, helped UNstuff-the-Bus during the three-day food drive hosted by iHeartMedia at area Stop & Shop Stores.