2023 Stuff the Bus project helps bring toys, clothing and personal items to local families

Morris Area High School Students, along with the help of the St. Mary’s 6th grade class worked together to gather and organize items donated to the toy drive and clothing tree donations that were sponsored by the Morris Area Women of Today last week.

The goal of the drive is to provide gifts for children that might not otherwise have a Christmas. Each child will receive a gift, stocking stuffers, and hats and mittens. Each family will also receive a game to promote family night, as well as at least one quilt or blanket.

The Wish Tree’s goal is to provide each child with at least one new article of clothing. Tags were taken off of a tree and items from that tag were purchased for that child.

Students gathered in buses to drive around the community to collect the now filled donation boxes that they placed around the community a few weeks ago in order to hasten the process.

This project will benefit over 400 children in our community who might not otherwise have many gifts for Christmas. Many local businesses donated, including Twisted Ivy who donated 42 pairs of shoes. 

Everyday items were donated, including garbage bags, tissues, and other toiletries. Women’s, men’s and children’s clothing items were donated as well as books, games and puzzles. Morris Area Student Braelyn Hamling said some of the unexpected donations she saw during the project were  an HDMI bluetooth speaker, Red Ryder BB guns, fishing rods, skateboards, a Hyper Tough Vacuum, drones, tool kits/ sets, dart boards, curling irons, backpacks, blenders, a disco ball, spa baskets, a chocolate maker, small Groove bluetooth speakers, led lights, wall signs, christmas decorations, foot baths, pool floaties, and a massage mat.

Hats, mittens and scarves – much needed items in our area during colder months – arrived in the toy drive boxes and through the wish trees.

This entire donation and gift process is completely anonymous. Parents can come to get gifts for their children and pick up clothing items donated as well.

“This project required/requires a lot of volunteers from the community and people really came through,” says Hamling. 

After all of the boxes were collected, the students were taken back to the Armory where the unloading and sorting began. 

The St. Mary’s sixth graders had set out and labeled tables for the donations to be organized. Once the toy drive donations were sorted through, a group of students gathered the wish tree donations and sorted the clothing from those. Many bags of hand picked clothing were donated for individuals.