NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County) – Although 2020 has brought unusual circumstances to Sussex County, the generosity of residents remained strong, with more than 58,000 pounds of food items and over $15,000 in monetary donations given, during “Stuff the Bus” food and donation drive events countywide which is held the weekend before Thanksgiving.
The food and fiscal donations collected at each Stuff the Bus site, benefit the Sussex County Social Services food pantry.
“Sussex County’s annual ‘Stuff the Bus’ food drive was an outstanding success,” said Freeholder Anthony Fasano. “This program is so important, especially this year, when it comes to helping those who need it most.” “Due to these uncertain times, the need for food was greater this year than in the past,” said Joan M. Bruseo, director of Sussex County’s Division of Social Services. “A big thank you to the generous residents of Sussex County for making the 13th year of ‘Stuff the Bus’ the most successful yet.”
The generosity in our communities was amazing to witness and it will go a long way in helping county residents this holiday season and beyond,” said Fasano, who also assisted at one of the events.
According to county figures, more than one million pounds of food and $96,000 in monetary donations, have been collected since the first Stuff the Bus collection in 2008.
Social Services’ pantry not only provides food to those in need from its shelves in Newton for all county residents, it helps to restock shelves at food pantries throughout Sussex County, especially depleted quickly during economically challenging times.
The Stuff the Bus initiative has grown in the past 13 years, typically encompassing the efforts of schools within the county during the “Champions for Charity” food drives but postponed this round due to COVID-19.
Participants for this drive included radio stations WNNJ 103.7, WSUS 102.3 and MAX 106.3; supermarkets including ShopRites of Byram, Franklin, Newton and Sparta; “Cram the Cruiser” collections from police departments throughout the county; and businesses that this year included First Hope Bank, Franklin Mutual Insurance Company, Franklin Sussex Auto Mall and R. Poust Inc.
The County of Sussex and Division of Social Services would like to send a warm thank you to the following for their assistance for this year’s Stuff the Bus and Cram the Cruiser events: Borasio; Steve Andrews; Steve Allen; WNNJ 103.7; WSUS 102.3; MAX 106.3; ShopRite; First Hope Bank; Police Chiefs and Officers from Byram, Franklin, Hamburg, Hardyston, Hopatcong, Newton, Sparta and Vernon Police Departments; Franklin Sussex Auto Mall; Skylands Ride; food pantry volunteers; Social Service employees and countless community supporters; as well as the people and businesses who served as a collection site and/or donated to make this food drive such a success.
Shelf-stable food and monetary donations for the food pantry are welcome year-round. Frozen food donations are accepted, such as ham or turkeys, but donors should call in advance to ensure freezer space is available.
Pet donations are additionally accepted at the pantry.
For monetary donations, which directly benefit the residents of Sussex County, checks may be made payable to: “Sussex County Division of Social Services.”
Individuals or families in need of food may come to the Division of Social Services, located at 83 Spring Street in Newton, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Donations are also accepted during these hours or special arrangements can be made for after-hours donations by calling 973-383-3600.