121109 Stuff the Bus 6.jpg
Jagar Wilsey, 11, above, vice president of the Dunlap K Kids Club, puts donations into the back of a school bus for the “Stuff the Bus” event at Ralph Dunlap School on Friday in Orcutt. Natasha Mengel, 11, below, president of the Dunlap K Kids Club, carries donations onto the bus. //Ian Gonzaga/Staff

No Christmas list ever looked like this: laundry soap, diapers, canned soup, underwear and rawhide chews.

But school children from throughout Santa Maria and Orcutt took donations of all kinds Friday and filled school buses with everything from holiday gifts to hand sanitizer that will be donated to the less fortunate.

Students from Ralph Dunlap School, Adam Elementary, Grace Christian School and Santa Maria High School teamed up with area Kiwanis Club and staff volunteers to “Stuff the Bus” with donations for a number of local charities.

Five buses were placed at different locations around the area, and donations were collected for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, the Santa Maria Good Samaritan Shelter and the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.

Everything from nonperishable food to winter coats were accepted. Clothing and toys were also popular because of the holiday season.

“I think it’s actually really great, because it helps people without any jobs to have a very merry Christmas,” said Natasha Mengel, president of the Key Club at Dunlap School.

Mengel and Jager Wilsey, vice president of the club, were just two of the students helping fill the buses with donations, which were sorted, placed on the buses and then distributed to the proper charity.

Not even pets were left off the list. Food, leashes and collars were accepted for the area’s homeless pets.

“I think its for a great cause for people who don’t have homes or a lot of stuff. We’re helping out by stuffing the bus,” Wilsey said.

Bill and Caroline Reid helped stuff the bus, too. The couple delivered several bags of donations to Dunlap School.

“We have two wonderful grandchildren here. We saw the flier and with this economy everything is much needed,” Caroline said.

The donations were as sporadic as the rain. Sometimes it was a steady stream, while at others it was just a sprinkle. But not even the bad weather kept people from supporting the effort.

“I was a little worried with the rain that no one would come,” said April Viau, a Kiwanis Club volunteer. “It was funny, though, the more rain we had, the more people we had donating.”


Recommended for you