Volunteers gather for Stuff the Bus

Devon Greene, editor-in-chief

Faculty, students, volunteers and community members gathered in front of Sherman Hall on Wednesday for the annual Stuff the Bus food drive.

Volunteers helped gather food from around Macomb in an effort to donate as much food as possible to various food pantries, including Loaves and Fishes, the Western Illinois Regional Council Community Action Agency, the WIU Food Pantry and the Salvation Army. As of 8:27 p.m. on Thursday, Sodexo has a 5,874 donated food items and they are still waiting for more donations. In terms of monetary donations, they put together a rough estimate of $2,107, doubling last year’s total and are still waiting on a donation from Buffalo Wild Wings.

The day began at 8 a.m. when donors could drop off food or money and enter their name in a raffle. There were multiple gift baskets up for grabs and the names were drawn near the conclusion of the day by Western Illinois University mascot, Rocky.

At 2 p.m., the “Pie in the Face – Local Celebrity Edition” took place and Colby Rhodd, General Manager of Sodexo, was the first on the slate. Rhodd was hit by the most pies, as a $40 donation led to whipped cream coated all over his head and in his ears.

Following Rhodd was Mayor of Macomb, Mike Inman. Inman said he usually has a no pie in the face rule, but he made an exception for Stuff the Bus and was grateful that the weather was not too brutal.

“It could’ve been worse,” Inman said. “It could’ve been freezing out here and it could be nasty instead of sweet. It’s not something you look forward to, but today it’s all about helping out.”

Inman commended the Stuff the Bus initiative and was grateful for the staff of Sodexo for hosting the event.

“The folks that this supports, it’s hugely important to the community,” Inman said. “I think that’s something in my position, where I need to support in any way I can. There’s a lot of folks in need in our community and this is helping a broad sector. Plus, the Sodexo folks, they do a great job here on campus. I am out at a lot of events where they are providing food and beverage service and they have good people they have serving here and they’ve always done a great job.”

After Inman, Terri Hare, Director of Financial Aid, took a few pies in the face, including one from Douglas Freed, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, who joked that he was there due to the rift between the Financial Aid and Admissions offices.

To close out the pie in the face section of the afternoon was the General Manager of Kunes Country, Michael Dennis. Dennis elected to use shaving cream instead of whipped cream due to his previous experiences with the dessert topping. Dennis’ mom and daughter joined in on the general manager and shoved a pie in his face. His daughter cried after shoving the pie in her father’s face while a smile crept across his mother’s face. Dennis decided to get back at his mother by giving her a shaving cream covered hug for her excessive enjoyment.

“I figured if I was going to get all this and she was having so much fun putting the pie in my face, I should probably return the favor and get her a little bit,” Dennis said.

It was down to business after Dennis wrapped up his turn as volunteers, Rocky, Western Illinois Interim President Martin Abraham and Inman formed a human assembly line and passed the food onto the bus.

Marketing Manager, Anna Filson, who organized the event, walked on the bus and was blown away by the amount of food gathered.

“I’ve never seen the bus this full,” Filson said. “I’m so excited. This has been an amazing result and I can’t wait to count everything. From the looks of it, it looks like we may have passed our last food drive’s results, so, fingers crossed that I’m right.”

Filson was very appreciative of all the help she got from volunteers.

“It’s always a great turnout, with the WIU students and Macomb residential community, coming out to volunteer,” Filson said. “Everyone coming together and making a difference is a goal of mine, and we did it today.”