Macomb prepares for “Stuff the Bus”

Devon Greene, editor-in-chief

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Sodexo will be running the 14th annual Stuff the Bus food drive on Nov. 6 from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

Sodexo held their “Make a Difference Day” on Oct. 26 where they and volunteers went out to Walmart, Hy-Vee and Jackson Street Market to campaign for Stuff the Bus and collect donations. They are storing the food donations from the Make a Difference Day until Stuff the Bus on Nov. 6.

The last Stuff the Bus event took place on April 11, 2018 and it is being moved to the fall this year in an attempt to surpass last year’s total.

“We’re always looking to beat the previous year.” Sodexo Marketing Manager Anna Filson said.

All proceeds collected from the two events will be donated to various food pantries around Macomb including Loaves and Fishes, the Western Illinois Regional Council Community Action Agency, the WIU Food pantry and for the first time, the Salvation Army.

There will be various activities including a local business gift basket raffle from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. where participants can buy raffle tickets and enter a drawing to win different gift baskets from businesses around Macomb. The drawing for winners will take place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Western Illinois University’s mascot, Rocky, will stop by at the same time.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., they will be hosting a cookout. Sodexo held a cookout at Walmart selling pulled pork sandwiches, chips and water for $4 last year and they will be doing the same this year at Sherman Circle.

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., there will be a “Build your own Smores” for $1 and they will also be selling hot chocolate for $1. At the same time, there will be a “Pie in the Face – Local Celebrity Edition” where notable people from around Macomb will get pies thrown in their face for a $1 donation or one non-perishable food donation. Four different participants will be taking place in the Pie in the Face event in 30 minute intervals including General Manager of Sodexo, Colby Rhodd, who will kick it off at 2 p.m., Mayor of Macomb Mike Inman at 2:30 p.m., WIU Director of Financial Aid, Terri Hare, at 3 p.m. and General Manager of Kunes Country, Michael Dennis, at 3:30 p.m.

Rhodd has been at Western Illinois for around three and a half years and has participated in Stuff the Bus ever since he has been on campus and has commended the additions to the program since he has arrived.

“Last year was the first time that we did it where we actually did the pie in the face where we got some of the bosses to go up there and do it,” Rhodd said. “Several of the student workers and Sodexo employees liked the opportunity to smash me in the face with a pie and if it’s all for a good cause, I’m all for it.”

Rhodd is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard where he served as a Food Service Specialist and points back at those days for reasons why he helps with the food drive.

“It’s great for the community and it’s great for all the food banks around here,” Rhodd said. “It’s no secret that food insecurity is a problem in our country and it’s a growing problem in our country. Unfortunately, that’s not going anywhere, so anytime and any chance that we get an opportunity to help out with the community and help out with some of the students, whether that be raising money for shelters and raising food donations for the shelters. If you can help out, you should help out any chance and every chance you get. As a veteran, that was always something that I was brought up to do; to help out and give back as much as you can.”

Sodexo has found a new partner for their Stuff the Bus festivities: WIU parking services. The partnership will result in an opportunity to lower parking ticket costs $40 and under received on Nov. 6 between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., when donations are given to the Stuff the Bus program. The dollar amount waived on the parking ticket will depend on the amount of food donated. If you donate 3 items, $0 to $10 will be waived, $11 to $20 will be waived for six items, $21 to $30 will be waived for nine items and $31 to $40 will be waived for 12 items.

Volunteers are still being accepted for Stuff the Bus and they can find an application to volunteer at wiu.edu/stuffthebus.

“We won’t turn anyone away,” Filson said. “The more the merrier.”

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