‘Stuff the Bus’ Stocks Local Charities With Everyday Goods

Felicia Glover, Reporter

Students and staff are collecting hygiene products and t-shirts for migrant farm workers as part of the “Stuff a Bus” project.

“Stuff a Bus” is designed to help others in the spirit of service because service is one of the charisms of the Sisters of Mercy.

Maria Cabrera, Multicultural Student Outreach Coordinator, is helping  with the coordination of this year’s  event .

“It was an event that was started by the Community Fiscal Committee because there was a need in the area of school supplies for children. Last year school supplies, as well as diapers, were collected and this year clothing and hygiene products are being collected for migrant farm workers, “ said Cabrera.

Marianne Guarnieri, Retention Liaison for the College of Arts and Sciences, and professional studies and social sciences professor, is also a part of the Community Fiscal Committee.

“The Community Fiscal Committee has been a part of ‘Stuff a Bus’ for as long as I can remember, so at least since 2003.  This is the first year I have been on the committee.”  said Guarnieri.

The event was a success last year.

“My first year as part of the committee was last year and we collected diapers and some people also gave us baby supplies in addition to the school supplies, “ said Cabrera.

The committee is regularly searching for groups in the community that are in need of specific items.

“We usually wait and see what the needs of the community are and we talk to different agencies and we pick which items we can collect,” said Cabrera.

Choosing the next beneficiary is not an easy task, Guarnieri said.

“Each person on the Committee is asked to do research on groups locally that they think would benefit from our help.  The committee members that found charities or groups they think need our help presents it to the committee and there is a discussion.  The Committee comes to a decision and that is the group we choose, ” said Guarnieri.

Since Guarnieri is a former cougar, she is no stranger to helping and giving back with service.

“I feel the most rewarded when I actively and physically am doing something.  Even it is just being present in a room to listen to someone tell me their life story.  When I was a student I did not participate in projects like Stuff the Bus.  I did, however, participate in a lot of Service trips through Misericordia’s Campus Ministry.  I traveled to Laredo, Texas; Savannah, Georgia; Wichita Falls, Texas and Georgetown, Guyana.  Each trip brought new meaning into my life and gave me a new perspective to see the world from.”

Cabrera hopes this year’s collection is as generous as the last year’s.

“I hope that many people on campus participate and are able to donate for this great cause. I don’t have a particular goal, but I hope we are able to give the Keystone Health Farmworker program and substantial donation.” Says Cabrera

Guarnieri believes any act in keeping with the spirit of service can change a life.

“When I went to Guyana we visited an all-girls orphanage and we were helping the girls with their homework.  The girl I was working with was terribly disinterested in her school work so I told her that when we finished I would teach her a game my grandmother taught me.  We played about six rounds of Slap Jack before it started to get dark and I had to leave.  As I was getting my bag together she gave me a big hug and told me she was never taught a game that fun before so I gave her my deck of cards and told her to teach her friends.  She began to cry; it was the first present she had ever received that was not given to the orphanage.  She was 14 years old.  I never knew a deck of cards, that cost me a dollar by the way, could mean so much to a person.”

“Stuff a Bus” will take place Sept. 25 across from the Amphitheater.