COOS COUNTY — Volunteers will be stuffing the buses with donated toys and food from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the largest holiday toy and food drive on the South Coast.
Organizers ask community members to donate a new, unwrapped toy or non-perishable food items at any of the collection sites prior to or during the event. On Dec. 7, a First Student bus will be located at the Coos Bay and North Bend Bi-Mart stores and at the Coquille McKay's Market, and a Bandon School District bus in Bandon will be parked in front of US Cellular in the Bandon Shopping Center.
After collecting thousands of toys, volunteers with the Bus Jam set up for the distribution event.
The 18th annual Bus Jam Toy and Food Drive serves families in need during the holidays. Food collected is distributed through South Coast Food Share to all food cupboards in the county, and a special distribution is also included in the city of Lakeside. Since Bus Jam began, almost 320,000 pounds of food have been distributed to families in need through Coos County food pantries.
Monetary donations are also welcome. The dollars donated are leveraged by allowing the food assistance programs to purchase food in bulk.
And, more than 7,400 children have received a gift through Bus Jam. Toys will be distributed at the Bus Jam Distribution on Saturday, Dec. 14. Families that meet income levels and need will be able to register soon for the distribution.
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Folks with the Bus Jam collect toys for needy families in front of Bi-Mart in North Bend last week end.
Early donation drop sites are in Lakeside, North Bend, Coos Bay, Bandon, Coquille and Myrtle Point. The drop location sites are listed at https://kdcq.com/rotary-bus-jam/. Several stores are offering Bus Jam specials, also listed on the website. Bykes For Tykes joined forces with Bus Jam this year.
Those who don't want to shop can make out a check to the Rotary Coos Foundation.
Bus Jam is made possible through a partnership of local Rotary clubs, the Oregon Department of Human Services, South Coast Food Share, SWOCC, Bi-Mart, Bandon U.S. Cellular, First Student Bus Company, the Bandon School District, Bykes For Tykes, and K-DOCK Radio. For more information, visit www.loadthebus.com.
Bandon Rotarians from left: John Mitchell, Mary Wooley and Chuck Ward as well as several not pictured helped with the 2018 Bus Jam.
Registration for the Rotary Toy Distribution is also underway at this time. Qualifying families need not be receiving state assistance, they only need to meet federal poverty levels based on family size. Bus Jam is designed to reach families who are making it, but struggling to pay all their bills and still have some left for Christmas. Income verification and proof that children reside in the home is required at the event. Those wishing to participate can register online at www.busjam.org or by calling the registration hotline 541-435-7774.