Give a donation, ride the bus for free
Nov. 19, 2012 — Lassen Rural Bus is launching its annual Stuff-the-Bus Holiday Community Program to collect donations for Toys for Tots and the district attorney’s victim/witness assistance program’s Food-4-Families program.
If anyone donates a new toy or two cans of non-perishable food, they can ride the bus for free. The offer is good for anyone accessing the transit system countywide.
Toys for Tots volunteers and Lassen Rural Bus will be kicking off the first collection drive in the Walmart parking lot Friday, Nov. 23. People can also donate toys Saturday, Dec. 1 as volunteers will be posting up below the Susanville Elks Lodge from about 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
According to Dan Douglas, Lassen County transportation planner, boxes will also placed in various locations around the county for people to drop off donations. Because Lassen Rural Bus’ route goes into Chester, a will be placed at Holiday Market and those donated items will be distributed to people in Plumas County.
Toys for Tots has been serving the area sine 1972. Lassen County sheriff deputy and former United States Marine Ben Yakey started the program and it was then known as the Lassen County Sheriff’s Toys for Tots.
When the program started going by the wayside, Lassen County Search and Rescue took it over in 2003 and the name was changed to Toys for Tots because many organizations were supporting it.
According to Terry Trussell, captain of Search and Rescue, Toys for Tots provides for children ages 0 to 17 throughout the county, from Westwood to Big Valley. Last year, the program assisted 680 families.
Monetary donations are also needed because volunteers purchase items to fill in any gaps. According to Trusell, volunteers are adamant the money stays local and any shopping is done at Lassen County businesses.
More items are always needed for children ages 0 to 1 and 13 through 17 years of age.
According to Trussell, Toys for Tots also coordinates with the Salvation Army to ensure everyone is able to receive assistance during the holidays and that people don’t double-dip from the services.
If you have any questions, you can call Trussell at 260-1222.
This year, the victim’s witness staff is planning to give 220 food baskets to families and senior citizens.
Families receive a general-sized food basket and senior citizens will also receive a Christmas dinner.
Food basket distribution is coordinated with Toys for Tots and the senior citizens’ baskets are hand-delivered.
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