1071 Frank-fm, Froggy 100.9 and 1450 WSNO announce that the Stuff-A-Truck Food And Funds Drive for the Central Vermont Salvation Army Emergency Food Shelf returns to 802 Toyota, Scion, next to the Berlin Mall on November 15th. The Stations will attempt again to stuff a Bellavance tractor trailer with canned food and will also be accepting monetary donations in the Salvation Army's signature red kettles. |
Stuff-A-Truck enters a new decade of giving, its 11th year with a bigger need due to harder economic times according to Frank-FM Program Director and Late Afternoon Show Host, TJ Michaels. "We're all seeing more difficult times and are thinking about how that's going to affect low income families this winter. The Salvation Army has seen 115% increase in the number of families requesting help over the past two years"
The food raised during Stuff-A-Truck has in years past sustained the Salvation Army's Food Shelf for the entire year on very little or zero additional funding. Michaels says, last year the program broke records and raised more food and funds than ever before but because of the higher demand of families seeking assistance the shelves began to become barren this year at the end of July.
"I've watched this event grow from 6 tons in our first year to a 10 year total of 134 tons and almost $77,000 dollars in monetary donations. With the weakened economy, energy costs being higher, low income families are under more pressure to decide between food and heat or food and medicine this winter. That's a choice that no one should have to make. In the green mountain state we've proven that we take care of own. I can't stress how important this years event is, It would be something if we could move to fill a second Bellavance truck!"
For over a decade now Frank, Froggy and WSNO with help from the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Army National Guard and 802 Toyota Scion have been setting up near the Berlin Mall every November. What started with just a 48 foot long empty, Bellavance tractor trailer today looks like a traveling circus has come to town. RV's, flood lights, bouncy houses, the truck clad now in banners from supporting business, rock and country music fill the air and soldiers and volunteers cheer and scramble to unload incoming vehicles with non perishables for the Central Vermont Salvation Army Emergency Food Shelf.
Michaels Says; "The first year there was none of this; in fact our Stuff-A-Truck Sign on the side of the trailer was made from 2 sewn together king size white bed sheets and some black spray paint. There were no RV's either we slept in the back of the truck with the canned food, in a tent and it was really cold!. Although the event looks much different today, We look to the Salvation Army's motto of "Doing The Most Good", the mission is still the same to stuff the truck as full as possible and raise money for the emergency food shelf."
From humble beginnings Stuff-A-Truck has become the way that Central Vermonters usher in that holiday spirit of giving. Even the Vermont Association of Broadcasters has noticed the effort awarding Michaels one of their Community Service awards for 2012.
Michaels and Froggy 100.9 Breakfast Club Host JD Green will brave the elements at the new 802 Toyota Dealership next to the Berlin Mall live from the back of a Bellavance tractor trailer 24 hours a day until the truck is full.
According to Green; "We don't go home and we go on an emotional roller coaster ride. Along with all the outpouring of support and goodwill, we hear very touching stories from the people who donate who either know someone who was helped or at one time in their lives was helped by the Salvation Army".
JD explains that everyone knows someone who uses the Salvation Army. The Central Vermont Salvation Army, headed by Captains Travis and Kim Delong, reaches 10,000 Central Vermonters. "The Salvation Army really struggled this year and the need keeps growing and growing. We really do need to make this the biggest year ever! Together we can do it!"
According to Captain Travis Delong, "I can not stress enough the need for monetary gifts and canned and nonperishable food for the welfare of our community. It has always been our goal that no goes hungry and no one is cold during our sometimes brutal winter season. Without your help this goal can not be accomplished."
The Stuff-A-Truck Campaign kicks off with a week of collecting monetary donations and non-perishable food in outlying Central Vermont communities, dubbed the "Get Off Your Can Tour". That tour begins November 5th.
Michaels says, "The event really is about neighbors helping neighbors and it takes the entire community to accomplish the goal. We are incredibly pleased to have the 802 Toyota, Scion as a sponsor for Stuff-A-Truck again this year! The fine associates at 802 have really set the table for us by underwriting a good portion of the campaign. But help comes from all over the Central Vermont Community in years past many Central Vermont Business's have chipped in to help including, Bellavance Trucking, Vermont Country Campers, Applebee's, National Life, TD Bank, Casella, SW Rentals, Sam Daniels and Members Advantage Community Credit Union!
Michaels adds, "They all have helped make Stuff-a-Truck a success in one way or another. We also couldn't do this event without the support of the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Army National Guard. The Guard provides us with the manpower needed to get the job done! These soldiers are more than just trained military personnel; they all live and work within our community. The Guard also sends a Humvee on the get off your can tour. We will pack it full every night. That food will be then loaded into the truck at 802 Toyota on the 15th and it gets us off to a great start. We understand that people in Morrisville, Randolph, Waterbury, Northfield, Stowe and Hardwick are all a part of this effort and the Salvation Army is definitely active in those communities. In the end it's the Vermonters that donate that drive the truck, we just become a big megaphone of encouragement.
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