The 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Stuff-A-Bus food drive for the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service officially began on Friday, October 27 at 10:00 a.m. with a press conference at the Kroger store located at 801 W. Lake Avenue in Peoria. Representatives from CityLink, the Peoria Friendship House and Kroger were on hand to kick off the annual food drive. The goal this year is to collect 10 tons of food.
For the past 30 years, CityLink has hosted the Stuff-A-Bus food drive to help eliminate hunger in Peoria. With a long partnership with Kroger to collect enough food to stuff a classic CityLink bus, the donations collected during the annual food drive benefit the food pantry at the Peoria Friendship House. Since January of this year, the Peoria Friendship House food pantry has provided approximately 54,000 meals to families and individuals who are dealing with hunger in Peoria.
To celebrate this milestone anniversary of the Stuff-A-Bus food drive, 30 families/individuals who are currently using or have used the services provided by the Peoria Friendship House will be featured on the official Stuff-A-Bus Facebook page (www.facebook.com/stuffabuspeoria). New stories will be posted on the Facebook page throughout the duration of the food drive.
The Peoria Kroger stores participating in this year’s Stuff-a-Bus campaign are located at 9219 Lindbergh Dr.; 801 W. Lake Ave.; 3311 N. Sterling Ave.; 2321 N. Wisconsin Ave.; and 3103 Harmon Highway. The Kroger store in East Peoria is also participating. Kroger stores will have pre-bagged food and cash coupons available for purchase to make giving even easier. The contents of the $3, $5 and $10 bags have been selected to provide a good balance of nutritional items.
The following businesses/organizations are also serving as drop off locations during the 2017 Stuff-A-Bus food drive:
-Boy Scouts of America (614 NE Madison Ave, Peoria, IL 61603)
-Cumulus Radio (120 Eaton St, Peoria, IL 61603)
-Dozer Park (730 SW Jefferson Ave, Peoria, IL 61605)
-Fix My Gadget (three locations: 4732 N University St, Peoria, IL 61614; 809 East War Memorial Drive, Peoria Heights, IL 61616; 2220 Court St, Pekin, IL 61554)
-Peoria Fire Department Stations (Please visit www.ridecitylink.org/stuffabus for a full list of the participating stations)
-Peoria Riverfront Museum (222 SW Washington St, Peoria, IL 61602)
-West Peoria City Hall (2506 W. Rohmann Ave, West Peoria, IL 61604)
-WMBD Studios (3131 N. University St, Peoria, IL 61604)
The Peoria Riverfront Museum is offering a $1 discount off general admission to individuals who donate a non-perishable food item to Stuff-A-Bus throughout the duration the food drive (One donation is required per person to receive the discount). The Peoria Chiefs are offering two ticket vouchers good for a game in April 2018 to individuals who donate a minimum of five or more non-perishable food items at Dozer Park during Stuff-A-Bus. Please call the Peoria Riverfront Museum at 309-686-7000 and Dozer Park at 309-680-4000 if you have questions about these promotions.
Donations may also be dropped off at the CityLink Administrative offices, located at 2105 N.E. Jefferson in Peoria. Throughout the 2017 Stuff-A-Bus campaign, various activities will be held in support of the food drive:
-October 28 and 29: Stuff-A-Bus Night at the Peoria Mustangs games against the Lansing Wolves at Owens Center. Fans can bring a donation of a non-perishable food item and receive $1 off admission and a giveaway item courtesy of CityLink. Game time on October 28 is at 6:45 p.m. and game time on October 29 is at 1:15 p.m. at Owens Center.
-November 4 and 5: Stuff-A-Bus Night at the Peoria Mustangs games against the Nashville Jr. Predators at Owens Center. Fans can bring a donation of a non-perishable food item and receive $1 off admission and a giveaway item courtesy of CityLink. Game time on November 4 is at 6:45 p.m. and game time on November 5 is at 1:15 p.m. at Owens Center.
-November 8: Ride Free Day - Passengers can ride free on CityLink buses with the donation of a non-perishable food item. One donation is required per ride.
-November 15: Ride Free Day - Passengers can ride free on CityLink buses with the donation of a non-perishable food item. One donation is required per ride.
-November 17: The 4th Annual Day of Stuffing will take place at the Kroger Store located at 801 W. Lake Ave from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. WMBD and Peoria Cumulus Radio stations will broadcast live from the location inviting people to come to the store and make their food donation to help fill the bus with donations. Television and radio personalities, as well as other special guests, will be on hand throughout the day.
-November 20: Calendar Day - The public can receive a free 2018 Peoria Historical Calendar in exchange for a donation of non-perishable food at the CityLink Transit Center or Administrative offices.
-November 25: Stuff-A-Bus Night at the Peoria Rivermen game against the Mississippi RiverKings. Fans who bring a donation of non-perishable food to the game will receive a special Stuff-A-Bus 30th Anniversary Celebration t-shirt giveaway. Game time is at 7:15 p.m. at the Peoria Civic Center. (One donation is required per person and the t-shirt giveaway is limited to one t-shirt per fan.)
-November 28: Weigh-In Day Press Conference – the final weight of the food collected will be revealed at a press conference at the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service at 10:00 a.m.
Cumulus Radio, WYZZ Fox 43, WMBD CBS 31 and CIPROUD.com are media partners in this food drive and will air public service announcements about the great need to collect enough groceries to keep the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service food pantry open all year long. The Amalgamated Transit Union Local #416 is also a long-time participating sponsor of Stuff-A-Bus.
Since 1951, Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service has made a powerful difference in the Near North side and the East Bluff neighborhoods of Peoria, and beyond. They have a heritage filled with stories of how they have brought hope into people's lives. Their Advocacy, Coaching, Education and Support approach provides wrap-around services supported by short and long-term coaching for both the Latino and English speaking communities. They provide valuable services, such as food, clothing, youth education, adult education, employment preparation, and finance and employment coaching, while encouraging lasting change for those they serve. The staff at Peoria Friendship House is dedicated to providing hope and guidance that offers a "hand-up" rather than hand-outs. They also form collaborations with community partners to provide resources outside of their agency. For further information on Peoria Friendship House programs call 309-671-5200 or visit their website at www.friendship.house. The Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service is proud to be a Heart of Illinois United Way Community Partner.
For the most up-to-date information on this year’s food drive, please “like” the Stuff-A-Bus Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stuffabuspeoria.