Thousands of Pounds of Non-Perishable Food Donated During iHeartMedia’s Summer Stuff the Bus Food Drive to Benefit Catholic Charities

Area Stop & Shop Locations Hosted Drive to Restock Food Pantries for Summer

GOSHEN, NY – For families that rely on school meal programs for breakfast and lunch, summer can be a challenging time when students are home and there are additional mouths to feed during the long break. The annual Stuff the Bus food drive, spearheaded by iHeartMedia Hudson Valley and hosted at five area Stop & Shop locations, strives to fill pantry shelves in time for the summer spike in activity.

“The annual June Stuff the Bus food drive is incredibly important because hunger doesn’t simply take a break for summer vacation,” said Chuck Benfer, iHeartMedia Market President. Recognizing the need in the mid-Hudson Valley, Benfer has been leading the charge for the annual food drive for 22 years now. “Once the weather starts getting nice, people don’t typically think of donating food and pantry supplies shrink as summer approaches,” said Benfer. “Unfortunately, summer is also a time when the need surges because students are out of school and no longer receiving meals at school. Stuff the Bus helps restock pantry shelves to meet the summer need,” added Benfer.

Catholic Charities in Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties have been the beneficiaries of Stuff the Bus for five years. This year, teams of Catholic Charities staff and volunteers spent a late June weekend “unstuffing” the buses that were filled with donations of non-perishable food items collected by radio personalities from iHeartMedia stations (Country 107.3 WRWD, Q92, Z93, 96.1 KISSFM, and NewsRadio 1450 1370 98.5 WKIP), staff, and volunteers at Stop & Shop locations in Newburgh, Hyde Park, Hopewell Junction, and Poughkeepsie.

The Summer Stuff the Bus food drive collected 8,400 pounds of non-perishable food items, the equivalent of more than 7,000 meals, that were sorted, repacked, and distributed to 21 different food pantries, soup kitchens, and other Catholic Charities’ partners in the four-county service area. Nearly 83,000 items have been collected through Stuff the Bus since iHeartMedia began partnering with Catholic Charities in June 2015. Pasta, breakfast cereal, and macaroni and cheese continue to top the list of most popular donated items.

“Catholic Charities is blessed to have outstanding community partners like our friends at iHeartMedia,” said Kristin Jensen, Chief Advancement Officer at Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster. “The bi-annual Stuff the Bus food drive is a huge boon to Catholic Charities, the food pantries we work with, and the clients we serve. It makes a positive difference in the lives of others. We are exceptionally grateful to our friends at iHeartMedia and their Stuff the Bus partners, including Stop & Shop, Gallagher Bus Service/Leprechaun Lines, Arnoff Moving & Storage, Claudio Cares Foundation, People’s United Bank, and Viking Industries for their generous support, and to the teams of volunteers who took time out of their busy schedules to lend a hand,” added Jensen.

The next Stuff the Bus event is scheduled for the weekend before Thanksgiving at Stop & Shop locations in the mid-Hudson Valley.

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. 250

Catholic Charities staffers Walter Gaceta, Mike Peters, and Dan Hegarty were on hand to unstuff the buses and help sort, repack, and distribute more than 8,400 pounds of food collected during the annual iHeartMedia summer Stuff the Bus food drive.