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The 36th Annual Stuff-A-Bus Food Drive is Oct. 20-Nov. 29

The 36th Annual Stuff-A-Bus food drive to benefit the Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service officially began on Friday, October 20 at 10:00 a.m. with a press conference at the Kroger store located at 9219 N. Lindbergh Drive in Peoria.  Representatives from CityLink, the Peoria Friendship House and Kroger were on hand to kick off the annual food drive.  During the press conference, it was announced that Stuff-A-Bus plans to outdo the record-breaking success in 2022 and set a goal to reach a new record and collect 13 tons of food onto the vintage CityLink bus.  Kroger donated flats of peanut butter valued at $2500 to get the donations started.

To mark the kickoff this year, there was a live broadcast at the Kroger on Lindbergh from Cumulus Radio station Z 92.3 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. encouraging listeners to stop by the kickoff event and donate to Stuff-A-Bus. Additionally, cheerleaders from Coach Bre Cottage Cheerleading & Dance Company provided some extra enthusiasm to the event, and there was a special performance by the Peoria High School Band immediately following the press conference outside by the vintage bus.

Group Photo of the pponsors & participants at the 2023 Stuff-A-Bus Kickoff event on Oct. 20.

For the past 36 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.  In a year, the Peoria Friendship House food pantry provides an average of 150,000 meals to those dealing with hunger in Peoria.

All Peoria Kroger stores are participating in this year’s Stuff-a-Bus campaign, which includes the stores in Peoria located at 9219 Lindbergh Dr.; 801 W. Lake Ave.; and 3311 N. Sterling Ave.  The Kroger store in East Peoria, located at 201 S. Main St., is also participating.  The participating Kroger stores have donation displays available that include non-perishable food items that are needed at the Peoria Friendship House food pantry.  Shoppers can simply purchase items from the displays or purchase food off the shelves and place the donations in the bins located at the front of the stores.

The following businesses/organizations are also serving as drop off locations during the 2023 Stuff-A-Bus food drive:  

  • CityLink Administrative offices (2105 NE Jefferson Avenue, Peoria, IL 61603)
  • Dozer Park (730 SW Jefferson Avenue, Peoria, IL 61605)
  • Jones Bros. Jewelers (7705 North Grand Prairie Drive, Peoria, IL 61615)
  • Peoria Riverfront Museum (222 SW Washington Street, Peoria, IL 61602)
  • West Peoria City Hall (2506 W. Rohmann Avenue, West Peoria, IL 61604)
  • WMBD Studios (3131 N. University Street, Peoria, IL 61604)

The Peoria Riverfront Museum is offering a $3 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 2024 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 2023 Stuff-A-Bus campaign, various activities will be held in support of the food drive. A full list of these events can be found on the CityLink website at www.ridecitylink.org/about/stuff-a-bus.

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 as a response to the great need for assistance to individuals and families living in deep poverty.  Peoria Friendship House provides valuable services such as food, medical assistance, 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 handout.

Peoria Friendship House forms collaborations with community partners to provide resources outside of their agency.  For further information on Peoria Friendship House programs, please 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 this year’s food drive, please “like” the Stuff-A-Bus Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stuffabuspeoria or visit www.ridecitylink.org/about/stuff-a-bus.

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