For the past 31 years, CityLink has hosted the Stuff-A-Bus food drive to help eliminate hunger in Peoria. With a long partnership with Kroger to collect enough food to stuff a classic CityLink bus, the donations collected during the annual food drive benefit the food pantry at the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service. Since January of this year, the Peoria Friendship House food pantry has provided meals weekly to 40-50 families who are dealing with hunger in Peoria.
What started out as a small door-to-door campaign by CityLink employees and members of ATU #416 with the intent to stuff a CityLink bus with donations back in 1987 has grown over the years to become a staple food drive in the Peoria area each year. The classic 1975 CityLink bus with its orange paint and vintage look is clearly recognizable and hard to miss when it drives through the streets of Peoria during the food drive.
The food drive this year is October 25, 2018 through December 4, 2018. The goal this year is to collect 11 tons of food. Donations can be purchased or dropped off at all Kroger store locations in Peoria and East Peoria, which include the stores located at:
- 9219 Lindbergh Dr, Peoria, IL 61615
- 801 W. Lake Ave, Peoria, IL 61614
- 3311 N. Sterling Ave, Peoria, IL 61604
- 201 S. Main St, East Peoria, IL 61611
Kroger stores have pre-bagged food and cash coupons available for purchase to make giving even easier. The contents of the $3, $5 and $10 bags have been selected to provide a good balance of nutritional items.
The following businesses/organizations are also serving as drop off locations during the 2018 Stuff-A-Bus food drive:
- City of Peoria Public Works (3505 N. Dries Ln, Peoria, IL 61604)
- CityLink Administrative offices (2105 NE Jefferson Ave, Peoria, IL 61603)
- Cumulus Radio (120 Eaton St, Peoria, IL 61603)
- Dozer Park (730 SW Jefferson Ave, Peoria, IL 61605)
- Fix My Gadget (three locations: 4732 N. University St, Peoria, IL 61614; 809 E. War Memorial Dr, Peoria Heights, IL 61616; 2220 Court St, Pekin, IL 61554)
- Peoria Riverfront Museum (222 SW Washington St, Peoria, IL 61602)
- West Peoria City Hall (2506 W. Rohmann Ave, West Peoria, IL 61604)
- WMBD Studios (3131 N. University St, Peoria, IL 61604)
The Peoria Riverfront Museum is offering a $1 discount off general admission to individuals who donate a non-perishable food item to Stuff-A-Bus throughout the duration of the food drive (One donation is required per person to receive the discount). The Peoria Chiefs are offering two ticket vouchers good for a game in April 2019 to individuals who donate a minimum of five or more non-perishable food items at Dozer Park during Stuff-A-Bus. Please call the Peoria Riverfront Museum at 309-686-7000 and Dozer Park at 309-680-4000 if you have questions about these promotions.
Throughout the 2018 Stuff-A-Bus campaign, various activities will be held in support of the food drive:
- November 7: Ride Free Day – Passengers can ride free on CityLink buses with the donation of a non-perishable food item. One donation is required per ride.
- November 10: Stuff-A-Bus Night at the Peoria Rivermen game against the Fayetteville Marksmen. Fans who bring a donation of non-perishable food to the game will receive a special Stuff-A-Bus t-shirt giveaway. Game time is at 7:15 p.m. at the Peoria Civic Center. (One donation is required per person and the t-shirt giveaway is limited to one t-shirt per fan.)
- November 14: Ride Free Day – Passengers can ride free on CityLink buses with the donation of a non-perishable food item. One donation is required per ride.
- November 16: The 5th Annual Day of Stuffing will take place at the Kroger Store located at 801 W. Lake Ave from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. WMBD and Peoria Cumulus Radio stations will broadcast live from the location inviting people to come to the store and make their food donation to help fill the bus with donations. Television and radio personalities, as well as other special guests, will be on hand throughout the day.
- November 17: Ghostbusters Peoria “Stuff an Ecto” event at the Kroger store in East Peoria from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- November 19: Calendar Day – The public can receive a free 2019 Peoria Historical Calendar in exchange for a donation of non-perishable food at the CityLink Transit Center or Administrative offices.
- December 4: Weigh-In Day Press Conference – the final weight of the food collected will be revealed at a press conference at the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service at 10:00 a.m.
Cumulus Radio, WYZZ Fox 43, WMBD CBS 31 and CIPROUD.com are media partners in this food drive and will air public service announcements about the great need to collect enough groceries to keep the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service food pantry open all year long. The Amalgamated Transit Union Local #416 is also a long-time participating sponsor of Stuff-A-Bus.
The Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service was established in 1951 and it has made a powerful difference in the Near North side and the East Bluff neighborhoods of Peoria. It was founded as a response to the great need for assistance to individuals and families living in deep poverty. The Peoria Friendship House provides valuable services such as food, clothing, youth education, adult education, employment preparation, and finance and employment coaching, while encouraging lasting change for those it serves. Their Advocacy, Coaching, Education and Support approach provides wrap-around services supported by short and long-term coaching for both the Latino and English-speaking communities. The staff at the Peoria Friendship House are dedicated to providing hope and guidance that offers a “hand-up” rather than handouts.
The Peoria Friendship House forms collaborations with community partners to provide resources outside of their agency. For further information on Peoria Friendship House programs call 309-671-5200 or visit their website at www.friendship.house. The Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service is proud to be a Heart of Illinois United Way Community Partner.
For the most up-to-date information on the food drive, please visit and like the official Stuff-A-Bus Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stuffabuspeoria. If you would like to get involved in this year’s food drive, please contact Emily Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RECOMMENDED FOOD DONATIONS
- Protein – Canned Meat, Beef Stew, Tuna, Canned Chili, Peanut Butter, Canned and Dried Beans
- Fruits & Vegetables – Canned Fruit, Canned Vegetables, Canned Soup, Fruit Juices, Jelly
- Carbohydrates – Pasta, Rice, Instant Potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, Cereal, Pancake Mix, Oatmeal, Cake Mixes
- Dairy – Canned Milk, Instant Pudding