For Peninsula School District bus drivers, November is a time to come together and support their community.
The 8th annual Stuff the Bus food drive is Saturday (Nov. 7). Each year, drivers collect non-perishable items for local food banks. Donations range from canned food to pet food to hygiene products.
Stuff the Bus began when the recession was just beginning. Thankful for their jobs but concerned for their community, the district bus drivers got together to gather food and, more notably, gather a sense of community.
Feeling a sense of low morale and knowing many people had lost their jobs, organizer Shari Pace and others wanted to do something that would both help and encourage the community.
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So they parked a bus and filled it with food.
Community is important for bus drivers, Pace said. Pace has been a bus driver for the Peninsula School District for 20 years. She’ll hit 21 years in April.
“I love my job; I’m grateful,” she said. “I like kids.”
For bus drivers, there’s a sense of responsibility for the district’s students, that’s why it takes special people to drive.
“We’re the first people and the last people that the kids see at school, so we try to make their mornings and afternoons great,” she said.
This year, the bus will be parked at the Albertsons in Gig Harbor North from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Collected food is divided between the Gig Harbor FISH Food Bank and the KP Food Bank.