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Canned, boxed food needed for weekend's Stuff-A-Bus

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Interfaith Food Closet wants to stuff two buses, floor to ceiling, with boxes, cans and packages of food Saturday — and you can help. The food closet will host its Stuff-A-Bus food drive this weekend. And organizers say it is just as important to give in the summer months as it is during the holiday season. The biannual effort crams an Auburn Transit bus full of food to benefit the food closet. Represen-tatives from the member churches set up in front of Auburn grocery stores Saturday to accept food and monetary donations. This year, buses will be parked outside of Bel Air and Grocery Outlet. Donors are asked to purchase extra cans of fruit, vegetables, chili, canned meat, peanut butter and boxes of non-perishable food such as macaroni and cheese, cereal and cake mixes. Baby food and disposable diapers are also in short supply. Community members can also make cash or check dona-tions or sign up for the ongoing Sponsor-A-Family program for $23 a month. This year, the Grocery Outlet will barbecue hot dogs during the event. A hot dog, soda and chips will be available for $2. “All the proceeds will benefit the food closet,” said Craig George, spokesman for the Auburn Inter-faith Food Closet. “People are welcome to come by, eat some hot dogs or help us stuff the buses.” Food closet officials will provide flyers listing food items that are needed. Donations can also be dropped off anytime throughout the day. The Auburn Interfaith Food Closet is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization of 18 Auburn-area churches. Each month, more than 1,300 people, including nearly 800 children to the age of 17, receive emergency food from the food closet. Auburn Interfaith Food Closet representatives said the food drive is its biggest of the year, second to its drive in spring. The average number of people being served monthly in 2008 has increased by roughly 24 percent from 2007. Keeping the shelves full is going to be more difficult this year, said Sandy Bassett, president of the food closet’s board. “As the cost of living continues to increase, so does the need to provide for the hungry in our area,” Bassett told the Journal in a previous interview. Gathering donations is also just as necessary in the summer months as it is in the winter, when giving is at its highest. “That’s what is really important,” she said. “Not just giving one time a year but giving throughout the year. Food doesn’t last, it has to be replaced.” The Journal’s Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or comment on this story at auburnjournal.com. ---------- More information: Stuff-A-Bus Infobox: Stuff A Bus What: Biannual food drive benefiting the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday Where: Buses will be parked outside of Bel Air, at 2222 Grass Valley Highway and the Grocery Outlet, at 414 Grass Valley Highway. More information: How to help Infobox: How you can help Food donations for the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet can be brought to the DeWitt center location at 2985 Richardson Drive in Auburn from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Financial donations can be mailed to P. O. Box 132, Auburn, CA 95604. For more information visit www.auburnfoodcloset.com or (530) 885-1921.