Each November, Utah State University students are given the chance to collect food for those in need during the holiday season through Stuff-a-Bus.
Jenna Stoker, one of the directors of the USU Student Nutrition Access Center (SNAC), said they were able to gather around 9,000 pounds of nonperishable food for the Cache Community Food Pantry last year. They hope to surpass that number this year and gather 10,000 pounds of food throughout the month of November.
Jake Rindlisbacher, an organizer of the event, said the collected food will go toward helping families “worry a little bit less and focus more on the what is important, family.”
The food also helps stock the SNAC pantry, which helps feed 300-400 students every month.
Students can help by volunteering on Sundays and Mondays at 7 p.m. in front of the Maverik Stadium.
On Sunday, students load up into busses and deliver bags to communities in the greater Logan area.
The next day, Monday, different students pile onto three buses and gather food from the areas covered the previous evening. Students also go door-to-door and ask for donations from houses that might have not received a bag or might have forgotten to put their donation out.
“This is a way that students can invest their energy into the wider community,” said Nelda Ault, an advisor for the program. “Unless you do service, there’s not a lot of connection to the community at large. The food pantry could really use the energy.”
Ault said because of the size of the community food pantry’s staff, they would be unable to bring in as much food as the Stuff-a-Bus program. The program helps people in the community donate to the pantry, as the busyness of life often prevents them from doing so.
Each night, students are able to cover about 60 blocks in about two hours.
“For me personally, service is a place where I get to be myself,” Stoker said. “I get to change and I get to become who I want to be. Serving others is a way that we can reach out and help our community in ways that we cannot otherwise.”
The program encourages different clubs, colleges and fraternities to come and sponsor a night. The event hosted on Nov 6 was sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences as well as the Dietetic Student Association.
“I came because there comes a point where you can’t do any more homework,” said Nicholas LeSchofs, a volunteer. “This allows students to give back to the community that helps us in our success.”
Nov 28 will be the last day of the drive. Ault said ideally, they could use around 100 students to participate.
“Ultimately, I think it’s important for students to serve to forget themselves,” Stoker said.