Three Communities Win in ‘Stuff the Bus”

Three Communities Win in ‘Stuff the Bus” Crosstown Competition
Posted on 11/15/2019
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collage from food driveThe longstanding tradition behind Lakota’s annual food drive helped the district bring home a win in the second annual “Stuff the Bus” crosstown competition against neighboring school districts Middletown and Hamilton. 


But the real winners were all three communities that collectively brought in more than 15,000 pounds in donations for their respective relief organizations, a total determined thanks to the support of Planes Moving & Storage.


“It’s always fun to be a little competitive, but the truth of the matter is that we are all in the business of serving our communities,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “It’s great to see what we can accomplish when we all come together around a single cause.” 


Given the varying sizes of all three districts, the leader was determined by the total weight per student. Lakota accounted for nearly 12,000 pounds of the grand total, enough to stuff two school buses with canned goods and other non-perishable items for Reach Out Lakota. CEO Scott Stephens said the delivery comes at a critical time for the relief organization, which so far this year has provided more than 77,000 meals to our neighbors in West Chester and Liberty townships. 


“Reach Out Lakota served a record number of families in October and our shelves were bare. We haven’t seen our supply this low in years," Stephens said. “Thankfully the donations came in and we were able to serve 27 families the same day we were unloading the buses. This food will sustain our pantry through March or April. Thank you to all who contributed.”


At Middletown City Schools partnered with its very own Middletown Success program, which serves students and their families. “Service and collaboration are the Middie way, so this partnership was a no brainer,” said Superintendent Marlon Styles. “We are always all in when it comes to supporting our community and it was really a great feeling to see how it all added up with three districts involved.” 


Hamilton City Schools Superintendent Mike Holbrook appreciated the invitation to be a part of this year’s drive, which in Hamilton benefited the Shared Harvest Foodbank. “Stuff the Bus was a great event for our three communities to help stock our local food pantry shelves in time for the upcoming holidays,” he said. “All three communities win this friendly contest.” 


Two years ago, the Lakota Board of Education put a new spin on the district-wide food drive it has hosted for the last 12 years. Traditionally pitting East feeder schools up against West feeder schools in a friendly competition to collect the most canned goods, the board looked no further than the district’s mantra, “WE are Lakota,” to shift to a drive centered on teamwork. 


“This was an incredible way to honor one interpretation of this year’s official tagline, ‘WE are All In This Together,’ said Lakota Board President Julie Shaffer. “That philosophy extends beyond the walls of our West Chester and Liberty communities and it’s so great to see the impact we were able to make together.”