COOS COUNTY — Over the weekend, local radio station K-DOCK and the Rotary club partnered to host the 17th annual Bus Jam.
After collecting thousands of toys, volunteers with the Bus Jam set up for the distribution event.
At the Bus Jam, folks from the community loaded up buses with toys and non-perishable foods for families who could use a little help this holiday season.
Rotary and K-Dock had four donation sites on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., two of which were in front of the Bi-Marts in Coos Bay and North Bend, another was at the US Cellular store in Bandon, and the last one was in front of Coquille Valley Hospital.
In the past 17 years of the Bus Jam, 7,400 children received toys through the Bus Jam donations and over 322,000 pounds of food has been collected. An estimated 500 volunteer hours are logged each year.
“Knowing that some kid who wasn’t going to have a Christmas is now going to have a Christmas is what I love about the event,” said Mike “the Bear” Chavez, operations manager at K-DOCK.
Bus Jam goals for 2018 include 2,000 toys and gifts from each donation site, as well as gathering 20,000 pounds of nonperishable food.
According to Stephanie Kilmer with K-DOCK, the Bus Jam exceeded its goals this year by collecting 6,700 toys, 5,000 stocking stuffers, and 40,000 pounds of food.
“We get cash donations in as well, so we’ll go out and buy toys if we need them," Chavez said. "Usually if there are toys out there that are not of an appropriate age for some kids, we’ll make sure there’s something there for them."
Folks with the Bus Jam collect toys for needy families in front of Bi-Mart in North Bend last week end.
This year the Bykes for Tykes event partnered with the Bus Jam, which brought in more than 300 bikes and hundreds more toys.
Those who are looking for help this holiday season can register to attend distribution this coming Saturday on Dec. 8 and pick up food and toys for their family. Online registration will remain open until Wednesday at 5 p.m.
To register, visit http://www.busjam.org. Families who meet the qualifications for need and who register online will be given preference at the distribution.
Coos Bay-North Bend Rotary is organizing the distribution.