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 Cars next to the Berlin Mall on November 20th. 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 its 13th year of giving with the distinction of becoming the largest Salvation Army Food Drive in New England! Frank-fm program director, host of Frank’s Big Morning Gig and the chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, TJ Michaels is pretty proud of that.
“It’s hard to believe where we are now, 13 years later. The first Stuff-A-Truck event saw us sleeping in the truck and the Stuff-A-Truck signs that hung on our Bellavance truck were sewn together bed sheets with black spray-painted letters! We were set up in the field across from JC Penney’s and we were determined to stuff that truck! There were no Vermont Country Campers. 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. We are now the biggest in New England, which is very cool, but its people that make this whole thing work. The radio stations and our community partners are just big megaphones that inspire neighbors to help neighbors. We’re big because central Vermonters have big hearts!”
The food donated 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 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 September. The 2013 Stuff-A-Truck effort garnered so much support it shattered records in both food donated and monetary donations. Last year 19.2 tons of food and $25,000 were raised!
Michaels adds that, “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 year’s event is!”
For the past 12 years, Frank, Froggy and WSNO with help from the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Army National Guard, and 802 Cars 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. RVs, flood lights, bouncy houses, the truck clad now in banners from supporting busi-ness, rock and country music fill the air as soldiers and volunteers cheer and scramble to unload incoming vehicles with non-perishables.
Michaels and Froggy 100.9 Breakfast Club Host JD Green will brave the elements at 802 Cars 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.”
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.
Green explains that everyone knows someone who uses the Salvation Army. The Central Vermont Salvation Army, headed by Majors David and Karin Dickson, reaches 10,000 central Vermonters.
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 Friday November 7th and Continues through Saturday November 15th.
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 our presenting sponsors support in this important community cause.”
Green 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 Cars on the 20th 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.”
2014 STUFF-A-TRUCK GET OFF YOUR CAN TOUR
Ą Tuesday 11/11 3-6 p.m.: Tops Grand Union ĐNorthfield
Ą Wednesday 11/12 3-6 p.m.: Tops Grand Union ĐHardwick
Ą Thursday 11/13 3-6 p.m.: Shaws Đ Randolph
Ą Friday 11/14 3-6 p.m.: Price Chopper – Morrisville
Ą Saturday 11/15 11-2 p.m.: Shaws Đ Waterbury Center
2014 STUFF-A-TRUCK EVENT
Thursday, Friday & Saturday Nov 20th Đ 22nd
802 Cars next to the Berlin Mall
1071 Frank-Fm, Froggy 100.9 and 1450 WSNO are looking for people to organize can drives at their work, school or church. If you are interested you can pick up a Stuff-A-Truck collection kit at the radio station studios at 41 Jacques Street in Barre. It is available via email as a .PDF, firstname.lastname@example.org.