December 07, 2011 - Clarkston Community Schools bus drivers are anxiously preparing for their 8th Annual Stuff-a-Bus, set for this Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
"It would be great to fill the bus again," said Tammy Layton, bus driver. "We have been able to do it every year even with the economic problems."
Layton began the event eight years ago to contribute to the community.
"For me, personally, it is hard to make a huge financial contribution," she said. "But doing something like this and pulling everyone together can make a huge difference in everyone's lives. It makes you more grateful for the blessings you do have. It is wonderful to help people."
Donations being accepted include non-perishable food items, personal care items, gift cards, monetary donations, clothing, books, and new, unused toys. The donations will be going to Lighthouse North, on Sashabaw Road to help local families.
Layton would like to see more toy donations and continue to completely fill the bus.
"The food is greatly appreciated," she added. "But we are trying to do this for families that need gifts for their children for the holidays, too."
Connie Stapleton, manager at Lighthouse North said they have over 600 children and 300 families registered for the holiday.
"It is very helpful because it rounds out the needs the rest of the community has given to us as far as toys," said Stapleton.
They are asking for brand new unwrapped toys for any age from infant to teenagers.
"You can give gift cards because it is hard to donate for teenagers," Layton added. "Any store for any domination helps, too."
Since Stuff-a-Bus is at the Kroger, on the corner off Sashabaw and Maybee Roads, gift cards can be purchased in the store.
Layton said for those unable to stop by they can either stop by Lighthouse, 6330 Sashabaw Road, drop it off at the Clarkston Community Schools bus garage, 6590 Middle Lake Road, or if they have a student in the district they can give it to their bus driver.
"It is really nice the community continues to do this. It is our eighth year I think that is huge," said Layton. "Especially because people have lost their jobs or have taken cuts. People are still wonderfully generous to make it successful."
"I did not realize what the need was in the area until I started working here," Stapleton said. "Then, I started thinking how sad it would be for a child to go back to school in January. Everyone is talking about what they got for Christmas and they did not get anything. That is why this gap is being filled by agencies like Lighthouse."
Stapleton invites the community to call Lighthouse with any questions and invite them to stop by and tour the facility.
The event is 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 12-13, at Kroger, 5590 Sashabaw Road.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.