Street Talk: 25 years of Stuff-A-Bus

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Peter Colomb, Rutland

RH: What’s going on here this morning?

PC: Stuff-A-Bus! 25 years! Stuffin’ the bus.

RH: What are you thankful for this year, Pete?

PC: I’m always thankful for my family and the community in general. Look at what you’ve got here — you’ve got a lot of people that are just caring and want to make sure that everybody’s got a good hot meal for that day. That’s what I’m thankful for.

Billy Gillam, Rutland

I’m the coordinator for the transportation — to get all the trucks and buses all in place, to accept all the product coming in. We now have the Rutland City Catholic churches here — IHM, Christ the King and St. Patrick’s from Wallingford. They just unloaded a whole U-Haul. On the other side we have the motorcycle club unloading into another bus. We have now just about filled five buses here already, and we have one down to Hannaford’s right now that’s almost half full already. So we are doing extremely well here. Last year we did just under 30,000 pounds. We’re probably going to get real close to that this year. That’s the goal.

RH: Billy, what are you thankful for this year?

BG: I’m thankful that these people in this community came forward to help people who can’t feed themselves for Thanksgiving or who don’t have the money or the wherewithal to prepare for Thanksgiving, that we are going to have at least 500 meals available for them through the three charities that are doing this. Plus it fills the food shelves so we can go all the way to March. That is a big deal — to take care of people, especially working people who can barely make it. This is a great thing for Rutland City, for Rutland County.

Fr. Bernie Bourgeois, Rutland

We’ve taken a big part of our parish life to helping the poor and the needy in the area, and for Stuff-A-Bus we do a huge collection of our parishes. And we’ve got a full bus here of food that came in through the parishes — the Knights of Columbus and our youth groups and other kids have helped. You know, Jesus taught us to feed the poor and take care of the hungry and the thirsty, and the stranger, and that’s what we’re doing by being here today. I am thankful for the gift of life. I’m thankful for the gift of the priesthood. I’m thankful for the gift of these parishes here in Rutland and the generosity, and the kindness of these people who have stepped forward to bring bags of food and more than $2,000 cash that we’ll give to the agencies as well.

Sam Gorruso, Rutland

I was general manager of WJJR. I was also on the board of directors with Marble Valley Transit. I was president of The Bus, and one of our employees, Chris McCormack, joined the board of directors of Salvation Army, and they wanted to do Stuff-A-Trailer. And we thought that was kind of cold for an announcer. So I called up Larry Dreier, who was executive director of The Bus, and said, “Can I have a bus?” and he said, “What for?” And I said, “We want to stuff it with food.” And that’s how it kind of got named. And then we got Terry Jaye to come in and stay on the bus, solid, for two and a half days, and that was the very first Stuff-A-Bus. It was Terry Jaye, myself, WJJR, the Salvation Army and The Bus were the ones behind it, and it’s just bloomed into something just beautiful since then.

Elijah LaChance, Shrewsbury

I’m the state youth director for the Knights of Columbus, and I’ve organized about 10 youths from Christ the King and MSJ, home-schooled from throughout the area to come out and help people in need. We’ve been unloading a whole lot of food from the U-Haul that we arranged into the bus. We’ve stuffed it full.

RH: And how does it look?

EL: It’s stuffed. I’m thankful for a wonderful wife, a wonderful home and for a community that comes out and gives to those less fortunate.

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John Carrera, Pittsford

I live in Pittsford, but I work with the Knights of Columbus to help out the people of the Rutland community for the need of food. Since 8:30 this morning we started at Christ the King Church. We were loading the van over here with food to bring down here to Stuff-A-Bus and we unloaded here in a little more than a half hour. There’s probably almost 2 ton of food. That’s about 400 pounds more than they had last year. That’s just my guess. I’m thankful for the gift of God, the gift of life and that we’re able to come here and give service to others.

Rebekah Stephens, Rutland

I’m the executive director for the Rutland Community Cupboard here in Rutland. This has been awesome! It’s my first year doing it, and I’m just so excited! I was telling Capt. Angela from the Salvation Army this morning that I got up at 3 o’clock in the morning, and I’m, like, “It’s Stuff-A-Bus day! I just very excited to be here, and I’m so humbled by the generosity of our community and how they’ve turned out for all this food that’s on these buses today, and I just want to say thank you to Rutland City for supporting Stuff-A-Bus and for taking care of your neighbor. Thank you so much.

Aaron Sanchez, Plainfield, N.J.

I needed some community service hours, and I reached out to United Way and they pointed me here, so I’m glad that I could be here doing community service hours with Stuff-A-Bus. I like interacting with kids, making people’s day and seeing a smile a people’s face while they help somebody else.

Roger Louiselle, Rutland

I’m on the Salvation Army board. I’ve been on and off the board for 46 years now. We’re hoping to break the record this year. I know that soon we’re going to be at the Salvation Army stuffing boxes for Thanksgiving ... so we’ll probably stuff about 225 boxes for Rutland area people. I’m thankful for a happy family and food for everybody in this region.

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