Stuff the Bus back to support food bank 

Andrew Mitchell and Adam Daff

The Whistler and Valley Express (WAVE) will once again set up shop outside of Nesters Market on Saturday Dec. 20, inviting customers to help "Stuff the Bus" in support of the Whistler Food Bank.

Last year the food drive was a resounding success, delivering thousands of dollars worth of food and other items to the Food Bank in a municipal bus.

While the need isn’t as great this year, organizers hope to raise even more food and money for the food bank.

The donations will be used to help those in need and if the donations exceed expectations this year then there is a possibility they could help the food bank move into a bigger location.

The idea for Stuff the Bus came from driver David Overbeck, who was struck by the number of locals suffering last year as a result of the late start to the ski season.

"We definitely saw a need last year," Overbeck said.

"People we knew were hired and then laid off again, and people weren’t working, or if they were it wasn’t much," he said.

"We heard the food bank was struggling to keep up with the demand, and we wanted to help out.

"Nobody should be without food."

The "Stuff" bus will be outside Nesters Market from noon to 6 p.m. on Dec. 20.

"I want to see if we can get it packed to the rafters this year," Overbeck said.

The food bank is looking for non-perishable items such as pasta, sauce and peanut butter. Cash donations are also welcome, because the food bank can use that money to purchase most staple items at a sizeable discount.

"Their money goes a lot further than ours," said Overbeck.

In addition to food items, the food bank is also interested in things such as diapers, baby supplies and toiletries such as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

According to food bank manager Sandra McCarthy, the demand for food and supplies isn’t as great this year.

"It’s a good balance this year of food coming in and out, so things are back to normal after last year," McCarthy said.

"I really can’t thank everybody enough, particularly for last year – the response was overwhelming.

"But the early start to the season has certainly helped us this year.

"Now we’re starting to collect food to put away for next year, and we’re able to get ahead of ourselves.

"Last year was over the top, but we want to be ready if something like that ever happens again," said McCarthy.

In addition to food and cash donations McCarthy said she would also appreciate help during the year collecting donations from around the district.

"We also do need help this season with the great many pickups we have to do," McCarthy said.

"We make a lot of pickups from the hotels and other places around the area and my car just isn’t big enough half the time.

"Anyone who can help, can just call me."

The Whistler Food Bank is a branch of the Whistler Community Services Society. Food is distributed every Monday in December from the trailer behind Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church on Lorimer Road, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. For more urgent requirements, call 604-905-8023.

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